BRESAOLA – Home Cured Dried Beef Antipasto, with Rocket (Arugula): recipe
Bresaola is remarkable. Like a woodsy prosciutto with a full beef flavour, bresaola is silky, herbaceous and complex.
it is a simple charcuterie to make at home.
Many different foods can be prepared by dehydration. Meat has held a historically significant role. For centuries, many diets around the world depended on dried fish and meats.
Dried meats include prosciutto, bresaola, biltong and beef jerky.
Dehydrating foods is very affordable and has been reported to retain most of the nutritional properties of food if dried using appropriate drying conditions.
Bresaola is an Italian air-dried, salted meat - usually beef - that has been cured and aged until it becomes hard and turns a dark red, almost purple colour. It is made from top round, or an alternative quality cut of meat, and it is lean and tender, with a sweet, musty smell. It originated in Valtellina, a valley in the Alps of northern Italy's Lombardy region. The word comes from the diminutive of Lombard bresada ("braised").
To précis the process ....
Make up a cure, cure the meat for a few days, rinse off the cure, tie up the beef, then hang and dry until it loses 30% of its weight.
Here though, we are deviating from the traditional method and instead of air drying for months, use your quality Excalibur food dehydrator to speed up the drying. Of course, it won't be identical to using the natural method but it hastens the slow curing.
A strict trimming process is essential to give the unique flavour. Choose a lean cut, thoroughly removed of all fat, and seasoned with a dry rub of coarse salt and spices, such as juniper berries, cinnamon and nutmeg. The meat is then left to cure. A drying period follows, depending on the weight of the particular bresaola. The meat loses up to 30% of its original weight during aging.
Initial preparation -
Place the beef in the freezer for an hour or two to make it easier to slice.
Slice against the grain of the beef to a thickness of about 0.5cm (less than 1/4in).
- 1.3-1.8kg (3-4 lb) beef eye of round, topside, or a quality cut
- rock or sea salt
- 2 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tsp thyme
- 10 juniper berries, crushed
- 4 bay leaves, crushed and ground
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- ½ cup white wine
Using a salt box, dredge the beef in the salt, making sure it is covered entirely.
Place beef in a zip-lock bag.
Mix all other ingredients together and pour into bag. Rub seasonings all over beef, seal up bag, and place in refrigerator for 7-9 days. Flip the bag over and redistribute the cure every other day or so.
When the curing is completed, remove the beef from the bag, rinse off the cure, dry off, and allow to air dry on a tray for about an hour.
HERE WE DEVIATE .....
Instead of hanging in a curing chamber for weeks, or months - hasten this process by using your dehydrator.
*Place the beef strips on the dehydrator trays, making sure they are not touching or overlapping.
*Leaving some space in between the slices allows the air to better circulate and dry the meat.
*Set the dehydrator temperature to 74°C (165°F) and dry for 3 hours, and then turn down to 63°C (145°F.)
*Check the meat after 4 hours and keep drying until the meat reaches your desired level of dryness - but be certain it is dried right through, dark and just slightly pliable. It should bend and crack, but does not break in half.
*Allow to cool for several hours before storing.
*Sliced bresaola should be stored well wrapped in the refrigerator.
As an antipasto, bresaola is usually sliced paper-thin and served at room temperature or slightly chilled. It is most commonly served and eaten with drizzled olive oil and lemon juice or balsamic vinegar, and served with rocket (arugula) salad, cracked black pepper, and fresh Parmesan cheese.