Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Bresaola Salad with Wild Arugula & Lemon - a Recipe
Bresaola is a specialty of the Valtellina valley, which lies on the Swiss border in the northern Italian region of Lombardy. It’s made by salting and air-drying raw beef tenderloin for about 3 months, and the finished product is traditionally sliced paper-thin and served with olive oil, lemon juice, and plenty of black pepper as an antipasto.
The texture, as you might imagine, is reminiscent of prosciutto – though most bresaola is drier than typical Italian cured ham, and the flavor is subtly earthy and sharp. Whether served plain or dressed with Lombardy’s heavenly citrus and olive oil, bresaola is one of my all-time favorite salumi, and it plays an important role in this time-honored salad from the region.
Migliorelli Farm is still harvesting their peppery wild arugula, and, along with some nutty splinters of good parmesan cheese, the leaves form a glorious base for a few deep ruby slivers of bresaola and plenty of juicy olive oil and lemon. It’s a match made in heaven, truly greater than the sum of its parts, and the dish makes a magnificent lunch for one or a savory part of any cool weather dinner. Bresaola is available at most gourmet deli counters here in New York, but a quick google search shows the salumi's available online too.
½ lb fresh arugula, rinsed well and dried
extra virgin olive oil
juice of 2 lemons
freshly ground black pepper
1 – 2 oz. good parmesan cheese
3 oz (roughly 20 very thin slices) bresaola
Trim the arugula stems and put the leaves in a large bowl. Drizzle with plenty of the olive oil, shower over the lemon juice, season generously with salt and pepper, and toss well to combine. Taste to see if you need to add more salt or pepper.
Just before serving, use a vegetable peeler to shave off some long slivers of parmesan cheese. Toss half of them into the arugula and divide the leaves between 4 plates. Lay 5 bresaola slices amongst the leaves on each plate (if you add them to the dressing too long before serving, the lemon juice can discolor them), and scatter over the rest of the parmesan shards. Finish with another good grind of black pepper, and serve immediately.