Chef Kevin Penner Makes Lardo

cured fat back

The “off” season on the North Fork has been anything but off for my friend Gerry Hayden and me. As I continue to loiter in his kitchen at the North Fork Table & Inn in Southold, we manage to keep coming up with new projects for ourselves. The first project was the Cooking Sessions, which were held in January and February at the restaurant. These were a series of cooking classes that covered recipes and food philosophy. We have temporarily revived them for the next two weeks in April and a week in May. Gerry’s wife and pastry chef Claudia Fleming will take care of that May class, and I think it will sell out quickly.


In other news Gerry and I are busy curing things. Some of these things include lardo and tocino, two variations of cured pork fatback. In a fashion that is typically Italian, we cured the lardo with salt, garlic, rosemary and cracked black pepper. The tocino was cured with salt and sugar, as it is often done in Spain. The possibilities of riffing on either of these cures are endless. Herbs, spices different types of salt and sweetness will personalize them.  This past Sunday, I stopped by 8 Hands Farm in Cutchogue, to visit our friend Tom Geppel. Tom raises a variety of animals with a focus on Icelandic Sheep. He also raises chickens and pigs. Those pigs, Gloucestershire Old Spots, yield some superb fatback. We also have some fatback from Niman Ranch Berkshire pigs on cure. We live well.

8 hands farm lardo_kevin penner

We have plans to cure the world of its problems with the help of pork. Other animals may join us later. Ducks? Yes. Beef? Yes. Sheep? Of course!  Animal fat, salt and time are certainly our friends and we love our friends!