Italian cuisine represents everything I love in cooking: taking simple ingredients and transforming them into delicious dishes. As I watched the antics of Two Greedy Italians on TV a while ago one dish in particular grabbed my attention (well ok, if you must know ALL dishes grabbed my attention and I was a drooling mess, wishing that I could pack my bags, ditch my job and move to Italy asap. Then I remembered it's a bit too disorganised for my liking - no offense Italians!) I digress. Again! The dish that grabbed me was a bresaola salad and I put it on my mental 'to cook' list immediately.
I have to admit I never heard of bresaola before; if you haven't either then you need to know that it's a type of air dried, salted beef aged for two to three months. Quite similar to parma ham, it's dark red and rich in flavour - a little goes a long way. I have to say, the moment I tucked into this salad (it was on a Friday evening, after a long week at work) I was absolutely blown away: the flavours compliment each other beautifully, there's some crunch from the croutons (ok, not the healthiest of things, but so delicious!), fresh lettuce, crunchy radishes, salty beef and olives and to top it off an amazing garlic infused oil. If this sounds like it might be up your street (I can't imagine anyone who would turn their nose up on this beauty) then get yourself some bresaola and let's start.
The recipe can be found here (I made some small adaptations)
To make enough for two people you'll need:
For the salad:
2 gem lettuces, leaves separated and torn into smaller pieces
a handful of rocket
a handful of lamb's lettuce
5-6 radishes, sliced thinly
10-12 olives (I used green), sliced in half
2 eggs, hard boiled and cut into slices
about 6-8 slices of bresaola, torn into smaller pieces
freshly shaved parmesan, to dress the salad
For the dressing:
2-3 tbsps olive oil
1 clove of garlic, whole
1 - 1 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
salt and pepper
For the croutons
3-4 slices ciabatta bread, cut into cubes
1-2 tsps olive oil
Start off by making a dressing. Put olive oil into a small jar (I have one dedicated to dressings), pierce garlic clove with a knife and gently crush it with the blade, then add to the jar. Add white wine vinegar, a pinch of salt, close the lid, shake and leave aside.
Now make the croutons - simply fry cubed ciabatta in a small frying pan with a bit of olive oil until nice and golden. Set aside on some kitchen towel to drain excess oil.
Now arrange gem lettuce leaves, lamb's lettuce and rocket on your plates, scatter radishes, olives and bresaola. Pour over some of the dressing and toss well.
Top with slices of egg and shavings of parmesan.
Finally add the croutons, drizzle a tiny bit more dressing, add a sprinkling of pepper and tuck in! Prepare for a large number of oohs and aaahs in between mouthfuls; yes, it's that good!