Pork has its prosciutto, and beef has bresaola. This is an Italian cured beef, sliced paper thin so that the pieces are almost transparent. First, the beef is seasoned with a dry rub of spices and coarse salt, and hung to dry for a few days. That’s followed by a curing process of one to three months. The result is tender and full of flavor. Bresaola is usually served at room temperature or slightly chilled as part of an antipasto. The next two recipes are a couple of my favourite ways to enjoy it.
Involtini di Bresaola
When I serve this as an antipasto, I sometimes finish with a light drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. For an antipasto for four, get about 16 slices of bresaola and about 1/2 lb (250 g) fresh sheep’s ricotta. Mix the ricotta with a couple of tablespoons (30 mL) of good extra-virgin olive oil and some freshly ground pepper. Get yourself a bunch of fresh arugula and wash it and spin it dry. Lay a slice of bresaola on your work surface, drop a large spoonful of the ricotta mixture in the center, add a few arugula leaves and roll the whole thing up.
Carpaccio di Bresaola
I sometimes use bresaola as my “instant carpaccio.” Talk about easy, and yet there’s something almost elegant about this antipasto. Lay slices of bresaola on a serving platter. Cover them with arugula. Sprinkle with salt and freshly squeezed lemon juice. With a vegetable peeler, shave large pieces of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese over top, then drizzle the whole thing with the best extra-virgin olive oil you have.
Article by David Rocco