What is Bresaola and what is it made of?
One of the most sought after meats, Bresaola is a type of air-dried, lightly salted Italian cured beef that has been aged for several months. The curing process produces a hard, dark red meat that is almost purple in color. Made from the top round near the leg of the cow, Bresaola meat is lean and tender with a sweet, musty flavor that can be compared to Lomo from Spain. Read More
The history of Bresaola
Like other premium Italian meat, Bresaola originated in the alpine town of Valtellina during the Middle Ages, which is situated in the Sondrio province of the Lombardy region. In a book written by Lupi in 1498, the author describes the curing process of Bresaola, which is similar to the Swiss method from the canton of Graubunden; along with traditional salting and aging, this technique involves cooling the meat naturally with the crisp Alpine air coming down from snow capped peaks.
The meaning of Bresaola also gives us some clues about its traditional curing process; derived from the Latin word “brasaula,” which means salted and grilled meat, the name suggests that Bresaola was originally cured in rooms heated with wood fire.
In the 19th century, Bresaola became a popular type of cured meat that was produced on a large scale in Chiavenna before spreading beyond the Valtellina valley in the 1930s and all the way to the Swiss Alps by the 60s. In 1996, the origins of Bresaola became officially recognized when it was given IGP (protected geographical indication).
What makes Bresaola different?
An Italian delicacy, Bresaola is made from the leanest cut of beef, which means it’s less fatty and therefore healthier than other cured meats. Seasoned with bay leaves, cinnamon, nutmeg, juniper berries, thyme, and oregano, Bresaola has a nicely balanced flavor that doesn’t overwhelm the palate.
What are some uses for Bresaola?
Because of its delicate flavor and tender texture, Bresaola is often enjoyed as part of an antipasto platter. To enhance the taste, drizzle with a mixture of extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and black pepper. Serve with crusty bread for a simple yet rich and satisfying bite. For a healthy Italian salad, toss together Bresaola, spicy arugula, and lemon juice. To finish, garnish with black pepper and a generous amount of thin Pecorino Romano shavings.