BRESAOLA

The recipe originally used was found in "Leaves From The Walnut Tree" by Ann and Franco Taruschio. It has been slightly modified to incorporate our tastes as well as the ingredients in a Piedmontese recipe obtained from friends.

Many meats such as sausage, prosciutto and salami develop mold as they  cure. In the book "Preserving" by Oded Schwartz (DK Publishing, NY,  1996, ISBN# 0-7894-1053-2) he offers the following  in the section of the book entitled Trouble Free  Preserving.  "Because so many factors affect the preserving process, it is possible that the end product may not look, smell or taste the way you expected. If that is so, you need to know what went wrong and, more importantly, whether the food is safe to eat.  Two of the most common problems encountered during preserving are listed below."   This is not al all inclusive list, and we encourage each visitor to The Artisan to do his or her own research into preserving meats before making either this or any other recipe.

Salami & Cured Meat

Problem:  There is white mold on salamis or cured meat -- This naturally  occurring mold is encouraged by the right storage conditions.  It is  harmless and adds to the flavor of the product.

Problem:  There is green or black mold on salamis or cured meat -- The  salt solution was too weak, or the meat was not cured properly, or the  storage atmosphere was too damp and warm.  Discard the product immediately.

Since The Artisan first published this recipe, a number of Bresaola recipes have been published elsewhere.  We have been doing a bit more research on nitrates/nitrites and their usage in curing meats, and feel that it would be helpful to provide that to visitors to The Artisan. In some cases the use of nitrate/nitrite curing salts are recommended.  The recipe on The Artisan, from "Leaves From The Walnut Tree", does not use nitrates or nitrites.  For those concerned about pathogens in the meats, or pathogens that can be formed in cured products, we are providing additional information.  One source is the following:

Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing (2005)  by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn.  This cookbook has been describes as: "one of the most intriguing and important cookbooks to be published this year," according to Publisher's Weekly--explores the craft of one of the oldest cooking specialties, one devoted to preservation that we still use because the food prepared this way tastes so good: pates, sausages, confit, rillettes, cured salmon, dry-cured ham. But it's not just an old specialty, it's one that's especially suited to the dynamic food scene and this country's explosive interest in food and cooking.In this book, Ruhlman explains why nitrites/nitrates are used in his cured meats - killing pathogens including the bug that can cause botulism.  He also discusses some of the concerns about the cancer causing potential when using these chemicals.

 
Michael Ruhlman also  has a BLOG and he discusses this further there.  Here is the link: http://blog.ruhlman.com/ruhlmancom/2007/04/mcgee_on_nitrit.html

Additional information about curing meats, as well as the use of nitrites/nitrates in same can be found in "On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of The Kitchen", by Harold McGee, Scribner, NY, 2004

 
As stated above, the source of the recipe (Taruschio) here does not use nitrates/nitrites in their Bresaola, nor to the best of our knowledge, do a number of artisan salami makers.  Additionally, the USDA does not allow the term "organic" to be used in a product that uses nitrites/nitrates.  
 
Given all of the above, we decided to make a cured meat - not Bresaola - to experiment with using "Pink Salt", a curing salt containing sodium nitrite. Two things became obvious. Relatively little was used in the recipe (Ruhlman' s recipe for Pancetta), and the nitrite had little if, any effect on taste. Ruhlman has a recipe for Bresaola in his book Charcuterie, and in it he uses 3/4 teaspoon (4 grams) of Pink Salt for a 3 pound eye of round beef roast. Using this same proportion of Pink Salt in the recipe below, one would use 14 grams of Pink Salt for a 10.5 pound beef top round untrimmed, and 12 grams trimmed to 9 pounds as discussed below.   We are not food scientists, but are careful.  Consequently, we now recommend using Pink Salt containing Sodium Nitrite in The Artisan Recipe for Bresaola.  Obviously, whether or not one does that, is an individual decision. 

Two sources for Pink Salt (Curing Salts) are Butcher & Packer Supply Co. Detroit, MI: 800.521.3188 or 313.567.1250 or http://www.butcher-packer.com and The Sausage Maker, Buffalo NY:888.490.8525 or 716.824.5814 or  http://www.sausagemaker.com

Ingredients:

10-12 Lb. Beef top round - trimmed of all fat
4-5 Liters Red wine - inexpensive burgundy
2.5 Lb. Coarse salt
12 Branches Rosemary  - each about 6-8 inches.
1 Lg. Thyme - bunch
12 Grams Insta Cure #2 or DC Curing Salt #2 (For 9 lb. trimmed meat)
6-8 Dried Bay leaves
2 Lg. Carrots - quartered
2 Lg. Onions - white
6-8 Lg. Garlic cloves - crushed
1/2 Cup Peppercorns - black
1/2 Cup Juniper berries - crushed
1 Tbl. Pepper flakes - hot
2 Large Oranges worth of orange peel

Preparation of the Marinade

Put all of the ingredients except the meat into a tub - plastic or otherwise - large enough to hold the marinade and the meat. Mix well for a minute or two.

Preparation of the Bresaola

Place the meat in the marinate. All of the meat should be covered. Cover the container and place at the back of the refrigerator.   Leave for a week or until the meat feels quite firm. (We have left it for as long as ten days as the refrigerator used is cooler than a basement or root cellar. ) Turn the beef over once at the mid-cycle of the marinating process. At the end of the marinade period, remove from the marinade, dry and wrap in two layers of cheesecloth. Hang in a cool place (60F/15C to dry.  Place paper on the floor as the meat drips a bit during the first few days of drying. The meat should be hanged for at least a 3 weeks.  At the end of this time the meat should feel firm with no give when you press with your fingers. (We have let two 9 pound Bresaole hang for as long as a month, and they were excellent.) For a 12 pound top round, three  weeks should be sufficient, but we cannot offer a definitive time period. The firmness test is the best method to judge readiness. Mold may form during the drying process.

When drying is complete, remove all of the white mold [See Preserving note above] with a brush and scrapper. Wash the Bresaola with vinegar. Pat dry and rub the entire Bresaola with olive oil. Wrap in grease proof paper, and keep in the refrigerator.

Serve sliced very thinly. We suggest it be served with arugula, olive oil, a dash of fresh squeezed lemon juice, and shaved parmesan. Alternatively serve with salsa verde, or wrap it around quartered figs. [For a richer taste, top each fig quarter with a teaspoon of teleme cheese, then wrap the Bresaola around the fig and cheese.] Alternatively, crisp some Bresaola, break into small pieces and make a salad of spinach, Radicchio, and pine nuts dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Franco Taruschio offers the following caveat in his book:  "Do not attempt to preserve a smaller piece of meat, it is not satisfactory". He uses a 9 pound (after trimming) top round piece of beef in his recipe.


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Last updated on: 08/16/13 05:15:09 PM