Thursday 15 April 2010


Bone marrow. Are we actually meant to eat it? Does it actually taste good? How does one cook it? Well this is all dependant on the individual. I love bone marrow. I love sucking the marrow out of the bone (especially if it’s been cooked for a while in a stew or curry), and I believe, if you enjoy this, you have the acquired taste for marrow. The texture is a little bit like kidneys, and this can put some people off. The marrow is where all the goodness is, nutrients and favour. When a stock is made with a carcase, the marrow in the bone is where the essence of the beast is and this is what gives the stock it’s flavour. I can understand that some people may find it a rather gross concept, and that’s fine. But allow me to try and convince you marrow is worth trying. I have decided to do a Vietnamese Spring Roll recipe, but using calf’s leg bone marrow to add a subtle taste of beef within a fresh crunchy oriental salad filling.

Firstly I headed down to Deptford to visit the oriental supermarket and the butchers. I asked the butchers for a calf’s leg bone. This is something most butchers keep as scraps. He showed me the whole bone, but the sight of it scared me a little. It was huge! So I asked for him to cut it in two. He did. It still looked daunting. I asked if he could cut it so it’d be easier to remove the bone marrow. He cut each half down the middle, resulting in four cross sections. The best part was the cost, a whole £1.50. Lovely!

It is recommended the bones go in the oven on a high heat for 20 minuets, but as I had more surface area exposed, I decided to keep them in for 15 instead, allowing the marrow to really crisp up on the top. The bone is done when it has turned golden. Whilst the bone sat in the oven, I stated on the salad:

I cut the following ingredients into long thin strips (it’s nice to keep things consistent):

• Salted, drained Cucumber (leave the cucumber in a collider with salt to drain off moister
• Unripe mango
• Bean sprouts
• Mushrooms
• The whites of spring onions

For the dressing:

• 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
• 1 tbsp fish sauce
• Corriander
• Thai Basil
• Green Chillies (according to taste)
• Salt
• Pepper

Bone marrow:
• Scrapped out of the bone
• Chopped up as fine as possible

So I combined everything together, mixed it up really well, then set to work on the rice papers. These can be tricky buggers if not done right. Some people suggest letting the papers sit in warm water till they soften up, and use as appropriate. I don’t like this technique, I find it rather fiddly. So I got a plate and a cup of warm water; I place the dried rice paper on the plate and using my hand “massaged” 2 tbsp of the water into the paper till malleable. I then take my rice paper and start to roll. After many tried and tested methods of rolling, this is my preferred choice:

After rolled, they can be fried in a tiny bit of oil, to allow the skin to crisp up a little, but I decided to serve them as they were. I do advise leaving them to sit in the fridge for a bit, so they dry out and also have a clean, fresh crunch when bitten into. I toughly enjoyed my spring rolls, and so did my friends. I think it’s a good way of introducing the taste of bone marrow. I dare anyone to tell me they don’t like marrow done this way…. Happy eatings : )

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