Bread with Lard (Chlieb s Masťou)

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Lard (rendered pork fat) has gained a rather negative connotation. Just mention the word lard, and the first image that comes to mind (at least to mine) is that of an obese lady sitting on her sofa, watching Jerry Springer, and spooning out lard out of a large tub. Add few Twinkies for good measure…

But this is too bad. Lard (masť) was a popular cooking ingredient of our European and American predecessors. Despite the negative image of this natural shortening, lard actually contains less saturated fat than butter by weight (source Wikipedia). Lard used to used in baking, for frying, and as a substitute for butter.

It is this substitute for butter that is still very popular throughout Slovakia. Visit a traditional Slovak pub (such as my dad’s restaurant in Banská Bystrica), and there is a good chance you’ll be offered a free appetizer consisting of bread topped with salted lard (chlieb s masťou). This popular beer snack is served in fashion similar to chips and salsa in Mexican-themed restaurants in the US.

Below you’ll find the “recipe”. Lard is nothing more than solidified bacon fat rendered during making of pork cracklings, or when frying bacon. Instead of dumping the grease, save it in a glass jar, and place in the fridge overnight to solidify. Then just use it wherever you would use butter.

spooned out lard bread topped with lard
Spread the lard on bread the same way you would butter, add few shakes of salt, enjoy. If you want, you can also top the bread with slices of onions or chives (pažítka, pictured here). Some people even mix in paprika, similar to how the bryndza spread is made.

Enjoy with beer or whenever you are in the mood for a snack.

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