Bresaola technically refers to beef that has been rubbed with spices, we like rosemary and thyme, and air-cured. Bresaola originated in the Valtellina valley in Lombardia, where Italians first began stringing pieces of beef up to cure in the cool air of that long Alpine valley. Though it is lean, much leaner than other Italian cured meats, and it's sweet smell has a definite musty note, the meat itself is succulent and tender. When thinly sliced, bresaola is beautiful to behold, an almost transparent, jewel-colored slip of tender meat. It should always be sliced paper thin, and is delicious when prepared simply, as it is most often eaten. Sliced and dressed with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, little oil, a squirt of lemon juice, and a smattering of freshly cracked black pepper, bresaola may be at its best. A little freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano only improves the situation. At my restaurant, Babbo, we also like our bresaola served with some good beans and a dab of our red onion jam.
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