After roasting my pork – read about that here, if you haven’t already done so – I had a cup of gorgeous fat, scented with sage, garlic, salt, pepper, even potatoes. It sat in the fridge for days, and I used it randomly – in a risotto, to fry eggs, one or two other times. I felt, however, that I was not really exploiting its presence.
Until the night we came home late, to four already-cooked artichokes. We wanted pasta. (I have said this before: combine late-night hunger, my kitchen, and enough energy to cook and, three times out of five, the result is a spontaneous pasta dish.) I had a lovely onion. And some basil.
I took a few spoonfuls of that gorgeous pork fat; maybe a half-cup. Sliced the onion while it was melting; cooked the onion in that fat until it was soft. While I was doing that I dismembered the artichokes, cutting up the hearts and bottoms while we munched on the leaves, opened wine, and started water for the pasta.
I scooped out the onions, because I wanted to brown the artichoke bits and not overcook the onions. Then I browned the ‘chokes, cooked the pasta, added the onions back in, drained the pasta, added it with some of its water and a handful of basil … and ate. (It was too late for a picture, sorry.)
That pork fat coated everything like no other fat can. (Ok, maybe butter.) Everything glowed with flavor and richness. It was worth roasting the pork just for this. And I still have fat left.