We wait all year to reunite with the first-of-the-season strawberries, plums, and summer tomatoes, and to snack on slippery, sweet wedges of cantaloupe and watermelon sliced straight from the rind. But we found a way to make these beloved summer flavors even brighter: Drape them with a thin, buttery slice of Italian lardo.
Lardo is a slab of pork fat taken from the pig's back and then salt-cured—occasionally with spices such as peppercorns, oregano, garlic, or star anise—and aged anywhere from a couple months to several years. It tastes best at or just above room temperature, when it gets a little translucent and dissolves on your tongue. Ask your butcher or local Italian specialty shop to cut it so thin it's nearly transparent.
Ways to Love Lardo
- Wrap around fresh cantaloupe or honeydew slices, cherry tomatoes, or grilled asparagus spears, or around warm shell-on (or peeled) cooked shrimp
- Drape over grilled stone fruits, then top with flaky sea salt
- Serve on warm crostini with sliced strawberries or blackberries
- Layer atop toast with tomatoes for an open-face sandwich
- Place over warm clams in the shell, and top with toasted bread crumbs