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.


Serves 4

½ lb fresh arugula, rinsed well and dried
extra virgin olive oil
juice of 2 lemons
kosher salt
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.

19 comments:

winedeb said...

I have an Italian friend here in Key West and she is a big fan of bresaola, so I have become a fan also! Still able to get arugula at your farmers market, I am jealous! I have to purchase it in a box now. But that is OK, at least I can still get ahold of it. It is one of my favorite ingredents for a salad. Does not need much "dressing up" to shine. Lovely photo of it!

bea said...

This salad looks SO good. Arugula has to be one of my favorite salads, as a matter of fact. I love its spiciness.

Peter M said...

Lovely dish and more people would find Bresaola more appealing than Beef Carpaccio (I love both).

Figs Olives Wine said...

Winedeb, that's fabulous! I feel like not that many people over here know about bresaola, so I'm always thrilled to find a fellow fan. And I totally agree with you about arugula. It's got so much flavor going on, that I often just do olive oil and sea salt. But this is my favorite use for it of all!

Bea, thanks so much! It's one of mine too. So much flavor, and the spicy element means it's great against richer ingredients, don't you think? So glad you like.

Peter, thank you! That's such an interesting point you make - it's the happy medium, isn't it? Although, have you ever had young bresaola? Maybe aged a week or 2 instead of 2 - 3 months. Totally different beast. If you ever have the chance, you should give it a go - that's from a fellow carpaccio lover!

Rose said...

-Is Bresaola a way of preserving meat? If so, in North Africa people would preserve lamb meat during Aid el Kebir by letting it dry for months. Then they use it in Tajines. The result: a stinky, stinky, stinky meat. Even thinking about it makes me sick. If you saw one of Bizare Food episode, Andrew Zimmern goes to Morroco goes to Morocco and tries it out. Even him couldn't stand the strong smell of it. I am sure the one you have here is quiet pleasnat and the salad looks so spicy with the combination of Bresaola and arugula.

Great Big Veg Challenge said...

Your arugula or rocket as we call it in the UK seem to have wider leaves than ours. It looks delicious.

Figs Olives Wine said...

Rose, wow! That sounds intense and pretty gross! So interesting though - bresaola is very subtle, by the way. Just like prosciutto. A little sweet, a little earthy, a tiny bit sharp. Very enjoyable indeed, I promise! Let me know if you muster the nerve to try it, but having smelled that lamb might put me off to!

Great Big Veg, interesting! I wonder how the flavor differs? This is extremely peppery, but it's wild, and I think that tends to have stronger flavor.

Gloria said...

Looks so good Amanda!! I love this type os salads. Gloria

swirlingnotions said...

This is one of my favorite dishes in Italy. And I always forget to make it once I get home. Thanks for the reminder, the gorgeous photo, and the recipe!

Mercedes said...

Oh, I love bresaola, it has so much flavor and is less-fatty than other salumi. We make an appetizer of persimmon wrapped in bresaola- it's like the winter version of melon and proscieutto.

Oh, and to Rose, I think you're referring to the Moroccan perserved meat called khlea, it's sort of like a lamb confit. There's also a levantine version called qawrama.

Figs Olives Wine said...

Gloria, thank you! I love it too! Such a refreshing lunch.

Swirlingnotions, thanks so much! It's one of mine too. I fell in love with it one Christmas in Rome, and I was so excited when I stores here started carrying bresaola!

Mercedes, that sounds unbelievable! What a gorgeous idea, and so seasonal. Thanks for the info on khlea too - have you ever tried it? Do you like it?

Cynthia said...

I learn something new everytime I visit. Thanks for the explanation of bresaola.

tribecachef said...

This salad's a real classic, and for good reason. One of my favorites too!

Joanne Rendell said...

a friend of mine gave me some of her delicious home grown arugula. i'm going to have to try this salad...

Figs Olives Wine said...

Cynthia, you are most welcome, and thank you! I'm still reeling from the idea of pumpkin mac & cheese! So delish!

Tribecachef, absolutely such a classic! The flavor combination is heaven, isn't it?

Jo, what a fabulous friend to have! Garden of Eden has bresaola fyi. Let me know how it goes. xo

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

This looks absolutely lovely!

Figs Olives Wine said...

Jen, thank you! It's one of my absolute favorites, so I'm really glad you like.

Ivonne said...

Oh! My mouth is watering ...

Figs Olives Wine said...

Ivonne, thank you! It really makes mine water too - one of my all time favorite salads! Hope you enjoy!

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