BRESAOLA (Air-dried beef, a specialty from Lombardia)


Bresaola is not Sicilian; it is a specialty of Lombardy. It is beef that has been salted and air dried and then eaten dressed with good quality extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and pepper.Air-dried beef is hard and dark, and like prosciutto it needs to be sliced paper-thin. A little goes a long way.

I needed to prepare something quickly for our Saturday lunch (2 friends visiting from Adelaide) so I made two salads – a tomato salad (with a little celery, basil and spring onion) and a rocket, radicchio and fennel salad. I baked some ricotta (see link to recipe) and prepared some bresaola. It was an easy and perfect lunch.

Good quality bread and good extra virgin olive oil to make the dressings are a must.

Although some bresaola is made by a small number of smallgoods manufacturers in Australia, it is not always easy to buy, however, I am able to purchase quality, local, air-dried beef (made by people of German, Dutch or Polish origins) which can be prepared the same way.

I often present bresaola as an antipasto. It is remarkably tasty and ever so easy.


Lay thin slices of meat (one layer thick) on a plate and then drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on top. This softens the meat; I do not leave the meat to marinate for very long (up to an hour) unless it is particularly dry. Just before it is ready to serve, add lemon juice and grind some black pepper over the top.

Although bresaola is not Sicilian, I was presented with this as an antipasto in Sicily when I was invited to dinner by one of the younger relatives of the family. I should not have been so surprised. Although their mothers generally only cook Sicilian food, their daughters read about food, watch food programs and experiment with different ingredients and recipes from elsewhere.

Those of you who have eaten at Cumulus (Melbourne Restaurant) may have eaten the bresaola of Wagyu beef; here it is presented with shaved fresh horseradish sprinkled on top. Not bad.