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Saturday, 24 April 2010

Bresaola Rolls

Whenever my mum and dad, brother or any other relative/friend from Italy visit us in London, they always come bearing much appreciated gifts in the form of fresh Italian produce :-) Not that the same things cannot be bought nowadays in most of our local shops or deli (although there are a few ingredients I still struggle to find). However, aside from the advantage of not coming with an over-inflated London price tag, these ingredients have the added bonus of having been sourced from my family's trusted butcher/baker/farmer or are from less popular, but better, Italian brands not sold in the UK. My parent's latest visit in March stocked our larder and fridge with countless delicacies, including bresaola, which is essentially cured beef (precisely the top round) and originates from the North of Italy, in Valtellina. In Italy it is normally served as an antipasto, dressed with a little olive oil, lemon juice and shaved parmesan, and scattered with rocket leaves. Here's how I like to jazz my bresaola up and turn it into a dead easy starter that's a bit different from the one you usually come across when it comes to this cured meat.

INGREDIENTS (for 4 people)

  • 12 slices of bresaola 
  • Cream cheese (like Philadelphia)
  • Dried mixed herbs (oregano, basil, thyme, tarragon)
  • Olive oil
  • Pepper
  • Mixed peppery salad leaves (should include rocket and/or watercress)
  • Half a lemon
Delicately separate one slice of bresaola from the other ones, being careful not to tear it. Lay it on a plate, then spread it with a layer of cream cheese. Sprinkle with the dried herbs, then roll it up on itself. 

Repeat with all the bresaola slices. Dress the salad leaves with olive oil and lemon, then scatter them on a platter. Arrange the bresaola rolls on the leaves, drizzle with olive oil, squeeze some lemon and sprinkle some pepper and voilá, they are ready to be served. If you are not eating them immediately, I suggest you keep the rolls in the fridge and dress the salad only just before taking them to the table, or it'll go soggy. I have also made these rolls with chopped olives or finely diced tomatoes instead of the dried herbs and they went down well, too.  Perfect as a quick starter, as finger food for a party or as canapés with drinks.

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