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What Is... Bresaola?

Described simply…

Bresaola is air-dried, aged salted beef. Trust me though, nothing is simple or straightforward when it comes to the claims and counter-claims on its behalf.

Where does Bresaola come from?

Originating in Italy – that is certain – two regions, Piedmont and Lombardy, claim it as their own. The Piedmontese insist it is made with beef from the Fassona while the Lombardians plump for the Chianina breed of cattle

Bresaola’s Ingredients

Made from a whole piece or muscle of meat, even the cut is disputed. Should it come from topside, flank or silverside or is it really only at its best when only the punta d’anca (the tip of the haunch) is used?

As for the cure itself, does it contain sugar and spices? Is it a dry cure? If so, how come some areas use wine? And if so, which areas, which wine? On and on it goes…. Actually, it is now so popular that it is made all over the world from various cuts, various recipes, and even different meats – venison being particularly popular in the UK – and it is one of the easiest Charcuterie to make.

Recipe for Bresaola

Paul Thomas in his delightful and useful book Home Charcuterie gives a recipe for Bresaola but even Paul can’t resist adding a variation. Writing about the spicing, he urges his readers not to be afraid and to experiment with their own unique spice mix and adds “(it)…can also be enhanced with ½ teaspoon of star anise which, while not traditional, marries beautifully with the flavour of beef”.

Did you know?

  • Although easily done, don’t confuse Bresaola with Carpaccio which is made from thinly sliced raw beef, although the other ingredients seem the same.
  • Charcuterie Lovers claim Bündnerfleisch a speciality from the canton of Graubünden in Switzerland is almost the same thing. The major difference is that it is pressed, resulting in a slightly denser-textured, square-shaped charcuterie

Credit: Credit: Images from HOME CHARCUTERIE by Paul Thomas, published by <a href="http://anness.com/lorenz/"Lorenz Books

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