Saturday, 11 August 2012

Bresaola - Italian for 'Good for You!'

A 1980's misconception aside, that we should all eat enough pasta to energise us to run 4 marathons a day, not much else other than Olive Oil has emerged from our euro-cousins to lead us to believe that Italy has much to offer the world of clean eating.

Tasty old shoe leather

Ok, that may be a little harsh and despite inventing the great evil pizza (I love it but it's so bad for you!) they have never been quite as high up in the geographical table of coronary disease as our deep fried Mars bar eating neighbours north of the border and in truth the UK as a whole.

Still, I didn't expect to find my latest 'superfood' alongside the fat laden salamis and mortadellas in the Italian section of the delicatessen.

Bresaola, or Italian Air Dried Beef, despite looking like old shoe leather, is my latest healthy discovery. Real Italian Bresaola, air cured in the alpine valleys of Valtellina (available in Tesco, look for the Valtellina quality mark) is probably the European equivalent of Beef Jerky or Billtong, but just like the social comparisons between Italy and the USA/South Africa it's altogether less harsh and much more delicate both on the teeth and the tongue! (The social comparison ended before I got to the teeth and the tongue bit - I've never eaten a South African, American or an Italian for that matter!)

It has a similar taste to and is served in the same way (wafer thin slices) as Parma Ham (only more Beefy, doh!) but unlike Parma Ham it is utterly lean.

I've found it is best served with a salad of red onions, baby leafs and capers and loads of lemon juice and ground pepper which is the way the Italians would prefer you to serve it. It's equally nice with a little Balsamic vinegar.

Nutritionally 100g of the stuff (not that you would ever eat that much in one sitting given it's wafer thinness) provides the following:

  • Protein 33g
  • Carbs 2g
  • Fat 2.9g of which only 1.3g is saturated
  • Sodium 1.5g
  • 160 Kcal

So if you bored with eating chicken every day and fancy something a little more sophisticated give it a try.

Look for the Valtellina P.G.I. Stamp to be sure its proper Bresaola

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