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Bresaola with Arugula and Mozzarella

Bresaola, which originated in the mountains of Lombardy, is made by salting beef and allowing it to air-dry for several weeks. It is leaner than prosciutto, which is cured in much the same way, and has a sweet aroma and rich flavor. It is popularly offered as an antipasto, thinly sliced in the manner of carpaccio and served with similar accompaniments. This recipe also makes a satisfying main course in summer. Franciacorta, a sparkling wine from Lombardy, pairs well with the dish. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups baby arugula leaves 
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 
  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more, to taste
  • 16 paper-thin slices bresaola, about 4 1/2 oz. total weight  
  • 8 slices fresh mozzarella cheese, about 1/4 lb. total weight 
  • 4 lemon wedges 

Directions:

Place the arugula in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and drizzle with the 2 tsp. olive oil. Toss to mix well. Add a grind or two of pepper, unless the arugula is quite peppery on its own.

Arrange the bresaola slices around the edge of a serving platter or divide among individual plates. Arrange the slices of mozzarella around the inside edge of the bresaola. Mound the arugula in the middle. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, drizzle with more olive oil and serve at once. Pass the lemon wedges at the table for squeezing over the bresaola. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Italian by Michele Scicolone (Oxmoor House, 2007).