“God’s butter”. That’s what Anthony Bourdain called it. And I agree. Rich and velvety, smooth in a gooey way, and packed with that wonderful umami taste. Bone marrow. Yum!
People often are aghast whenever I order bone marrow. “It’s sinful!” Or “That’s so bad for you!” True, it does contain a whole lot of fat. In fact, about 96% of it is fat yet it yields a lot of benefits as well. I had read that “a serving of beef bone marrow contains 6.79 grams of unsaturated fat, which is 10 percent of your daily requirement on a 2,000-calorie diet. It contains zero grams of trans or saturated fats. Unsaturated fats may help in reducing overall cholesterol levels. However, you should limit your total fat consumption to between 20 percent and 35 percent of your daily calorie intake,” according to one site, Livstrong.com. (You can read more about it here: http://www.livestrong.com/article/539722-nutritional-contents-of-beef-bone-marrow/). Bone marrow also provides a lot of collagen, that protein-abundant substance that helps the body rebuild itself. That is the reason why I make bone broth, with lots of marrow, for my own aging dogs.
Aside from the usual Bulalo (classic Filipino Beef Stew with Marrow), you can enjoy bone marrow roasted. Like the way Chef Jay Gamboa does it at his restaurant Cirkulo (at the Milky Way Building on Pasay Road). He serves the perfectly roasted marrow-rich bones on a bed of rock salt, accompanied by a small bowl of Beef Molé Asado (so good that I wonder if it contains chocolate to give it that rich taste?). Simply spread that unctuous goodness on toast and top with a bit of Molé … and swoon!
Chef Gaita Fores also does a brilliant take at Roasted Bone Marrow. She first served it at her Pepato restaurant but now this incredible dish can be enjoyed at Grace Park (on the ground floor of One Rockwell on Hidalgo Drive in Rockwell, Makati). Simply spread that “butter” onto the bruschetta and squirt a bit of lemon to balance off the richness of the marrow. Absolute heaven!
It’s not hard to make roasted bone marrow at home, actually. First and foremost, of course, is to choose the proper part of the cow’s leg and get a whole bone. The femur (or biyas, in Filipino) is ideal as it is long, straight, and thick. Ask your butcher to cut the bone lengthwise for easier scooping of that heavenly marrow, although having the bone cut crosswise is okay, too. Just before cooking, season the marrow with a bit of salt and pepper just to draw out the juices. Then place the bones on a baking dish or foil and roast in your oven, the cut side up, for 20 minutes at 425°F (or about 218°C). When the marrow starts to bubble up at the sides, it’s all ready. Sprinkle with some sea salt and enjoy. It’s that easy!