Making bresaola December 1, 2011Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Beef, Charcutepalooza.
Back to do some more curing and back to my trusty work fridge to hang my meat in. This time I thought I’d try making bresaola, as I’d not tried curing any beef before. There are so many delicious options when curing pork it can sometimes be difficult to move beyond it!
It took a bit of work, but I was finally able to describe to the butcher which cut I wanted, and I began the two week process of curing it in the fridge. I used a mixture of salt, sugar, curing salt #2, thyme and pepper, massaged it all into the meat and left it in the fridge for a week, flipping it regularly so the liquid was distributed. After the first week, I rinsed off the cure and reapplied a new batch, again returning the meat to the fridge.
After another week, it was ready to hang. I rinsed the cure off, patted it dry then tied it quite tightly. I couldn’t find any netting to use, which would have been my preference. Anyway, at least it looks like my meat tying skills are getting better!
I took it to work the next day to hang in my fridge. As before, I added a bowl full of water with salt in it to try and increase the humidity. Throughout the drying time I also used a handheld fan to increase air circulation, and opened the fridge door to also try and let more air in.
I admit I didn’t check on it as frequently as I should have (certainly not every day!) and was also more lackadaisical than I probably should have been about start- and end- weights. I decided it was done primarily on touch – when it felt firm and not at all squishy, I thought it was worth sampling.
The photo makes it look like it’s still raw, but rest assured, it was nicely cured! I got a smattering of dry white mould on the outside, but not a full covering. However, considering I didn’t rub or spray it with any sort of mould product, I was quite pleased with my white mould! As for the all important taste test: I found this similar to pancetta, but with a deeper and fuller taste. I was pleasantly surprised with how well the thyme came through, and thought this was a great match with the beef.
While just eating the bresaola was great on its own, I decided to use it in a salad. I chopped up some apricots (first I’ve seen for a while!) and tossed them in balsamic vinegar.
I spread them on a baking tray and grilled them for a few minutes. To be honest, I got sidetracked sampling more of the bresaola and overcooked them a little bit…
I tossed the apricots with pieces of the bresaola and added some endive. I dressed the whole salad with more balsamic vinegar and some olive oil. It became a late afternoon snack!
I really enjoyed the salad. The sweet but charred apricots, the salty bresaola and the bitter endive were such a nice combination. Naturally I have much more bresaola left, so will be making more of this salad in the future.