Reid Harrison, chef/manager of White Oak Pastures, Bluffton, Georgia, uses bone marrow in
soup broth, including poultry, for the nutrient fortification it adds. “It’s great to add richness and depth
of flavor to soup and stew,” he says, noting that many consumers overlook the health benefits of bone
marrow. However, not the customers at his farm restaurant, who have learned about the purported
benefits of improved gastrointestinal and white blood health that help the body heal faster.
Tesar uses fish marrow—as in tuna, swordfish and salmon. The bones are more round and
straw-like. He scrapes out the marrow and boils the bones, particularly the spine bone to turn it
into a white cylinder. He gently warms the marrow in a pan to melt it, then pours it back into the
bone and chills it. To serve, he seasons with sea salt and a drop of lemon juice, and serves as an
amuse. “It tastes like the sea with a umami quality,” he says.
One of the challenges that Harrison believes chefs face is determining the proper ingredients to
balance and complement the richness of marrow. “Asian food has a lot of good principles with sweet
and sour, balancing opposites for a yin and yang,” he says. “The key is to figure where ingredients
stand on the salty, sweet, sour, bitter and umami scale, and determine what complements it. To achieve
this balance in his bone marrow ravioli, he includes lemon juice and parsley, which bring a lighter,
brighter, crisp balance.
Dakota Weiss, chef/partner of Estrella, Los Angeles, which was scheduled to open at the end
of August, is such a fan of bone marrow that her Instagram handle is DakotaLovesBoneMarrow.
“My name was already taken, so I decided to make it cheffy,” she says. “Bone marrow is one of
my favorite things to cook and eat.”
One of the first dishes in which she used bone marrow was risotto Milanese, with marrow
as a butter replacement when toasting the rice and saffron. “I melted it in the pan to give it this
well-balanced meaty flavor. You get little pieces of caramelized bone marrow,” she says. She
didn’t tell guests that she used bone marrow, fearing it would be off-putting.
The tendency of bone marrow to easily melt into liquid can be challenging when wanting to
keep it harder, as in the classic roasted bone marrow, she says. In that case, she suggests starting
with frozen bones, and, once it’s done, serving it quickly.
Tim Graham, executive chef at Travelle, Chicago, started picking up on interesting bone marrow
applications 18 years ago. In one kitchen, he noticed a chef run frozen bone marrow through a food
processor to turn it into powder, which became the fat for risotto in which to sweat the shallots. “That’s
a great use of it,” he says. At Tru in Chicago, once known for making almost anything into foam,
Graham observed bone marrow foam placed back in the bone and served with a steak dish.
A favorite dish he created is currently on his menu listed as roasted bone marrow, short
rib gravy, housemade giardiniera—his take on an Italian beef sandwich. He splits and roasts a
6-inch beef bone lengthwise, covers the two halves with short rib gravy and tops with a Chicago
favorite, giardiniera—a pickled vegetable mixture. He serves it with Italian bread on the side
toasted in the bone marrow fat from roasting the bones/marrow.
Bone marrow is in a good position to grow in urban Chicago, Graham says. “Diners here are
more educated and ready for it.” He adds that in other parts of the country, the bone ingredient
could confuse some people.
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boNe Marrow ravioli
with leMon caper
Reid Harrison, Chef/Manager // White
Oak Pastures // Bluffton, Georgia
YIELD: 3-4 SERVINgS
10 lbs. marrow bones (canoe cut)
Salt and pepper, to taste
¼-¾ cup breadcrumbs (just enough
to bind marrow)
¼ cup Parmesan
1½ T. roasted garlic paste
2 cups flour
½ t. salt
4 eggs, divided
1 t. + 2 T. olive oil, divided
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 T. capers
1½ T. white wine
1½ T. lemon juice
½ cup heavy cream
1 T. fresh chopped parsley
1) Preheat oven to 475ºF. Place bones
on roasting pan, marrow side up; lightly
season with salt and pepper. Roast for
20-30 minutes or until marrow and
bones are well-browned. Remove from
oven; cool slightly. Scrape marrow
out of bones into mixing bowl. Add
breadcrumbs, Parmesan and garlic
paste; mix well. Refrigerate.
2) Make mound with flour and ½ t. salt on
cutting board or in bowl, forming well in
center. Add 3 eggs and 1 t. olive oil. Whisk
in eggs and oil while slowly incorporating
flour. Once dough becomes sticky, knead,
adding a little flour if necessary, until
dough becomes smooth, shiny and slightly
elastic. Allow dough to rest, covered with
damp cloth, for about 15 minutes.
3) Roll out dough into two ¹⁄8-inch thick
uniform pieces. Use tablespoon to
measure ravioli filling onto dough. Leave
about ½ inch of space on all sides until
bottom sheet of pasta is covered. Whisk
1 egg with a little water to use as “glue”
to bind bottom layer of pasta to top layer.
Seal in ravioli filling with second layer of
pasta (make sure to remove air bubbles).
4) Heat 2 T. olive oil. Saute minced shallot
for 1-2 minutes until translucent and
fragrant. Add minced garlic; saute briefly.
Add capers. Deglaze pan with white wine
and lemon juice. Add cream and parsley;
season to taste with salt and pepper.
5) Boil ravioli in salted water for 1-2
minutes (should float when ready).
Remove from water with strainer. Add to
sauce; toss to coat. Serve immediately.