Bresaola with Salt-baked Parsnips and Parsnip Remoulade
Portion/Yield:Serves 8 (bresaola, salt-baked parsnips and remoulade) as a lunch or supper (Bresaola serves plenty (around 25), so you will have leftovers)
The inspiration and credit for the bresaola in this recipe goes to Diana Henry’s book ‘Salt, Sugar, Smoke’. My good friend Richard Arbon (self-confessed food fanatic, sausage-making lover, best salt beef producer, jam and condiment extraordinaire, as well as his day job as an excellent craftsman) went on holiday to Norfolk and came back with this fabulous book under his arm.
I had been harping on for weeks before that I would like to have a go at making salami and cured meats. Well, one thing led to another, and Richard brought this book for me to read, pointing out that he had spotted bresaola in the book and did I fancy giving it a go. Before reading the recipes, I ordered the meat and then after reading both bresaola recipes, I realised that I did not have the cure #2 to hand and had to resort to the wet cure recipe.
It was delicious and I was very happy with the recipe, but the nagging thing in my mind was that I should try the dry cure version too. My results for the first recipe were great, actually both recipes were superb, but from a flavour point of view I prefer the wet cure, and from an aesthetic colour point of view I prefer the dry cure. So, I made up my own version very much based on Diana’s dry cure with the addition of a few extra spices and the orange – I thoroughly enjoyed the taste of the orange in the wet cure and for that reason I then incorporated it into the dry cure recipe.
The ideal temperature to hang the bresaola is at between 10–15°C (with relative humidity at 70–80% – see Cook’s Notes); at this temperature they should be hung for 3 weeks. A cool, dark, well-ventilated shed or room is ideal, but I don’t trust any of my sheds, and the outside temperature fluctuates so much that I decided to use a normal domestic fridge at around 5°C; it’s a bit cooler than the desired temperature and for that reason I hang the bresaola for a week longer (4 weeks in total). I have also left the spices quite rough and big, which not only looks great but also creates an interesting eat. That true home-made experience.
The salt-baked parsnips are simply wonderful. I have had plenty of salt-baked celeriac at various restaurants in the past and this triggered and inspired me to try parsnips. These are a triumph in their own right – they have the perfect texture and unique earthy taste to complement the bresaola.
This is the kind of recipe you should plan to make when you have a weekend of guests, such as family and friends, coming to stay. Plonk the ‘meat’ in the middle of the table with a carving knife and fork and plenty of freshly baked soda bread and home-made butter, plus a bowlful of warm salt-baked parsnips and parsnip remoulade – OK, so it’s a bit extravagant, but it’s heaven! Do not forget the Gewürztraminer or Barolo, whichever takes your fancy – both if it’s me. I think Diana Henry would approve of this kind of fare too.
Ingredients & Method
For the bresaola
- 24g sea salt
- 80g dark soft brown or muscovado sugar
- 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon whole cloves
- 1 tablespoon dried juniper berries
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mixed rosemary and thyme leaves
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- finely grated zest of 2 oranges
- 2.4g - 3.2g cure #2 (also know as Prague powder #2) – it’s important that you follow the measurements for this cure correctly; do not use more than the recipe specification (see Cook’s Notes)
- 1.2–1.6kg topside of beef
For the salt-baked parsnips
- 500g plain flour
- 400g table salt
- 150g egg whites (approximately 5 egg whites)
- 150ml cold water (you might need a bit more to form an easy-to-use dough)
- 8 medium parsnips, even-sized ones are preferable, peeled and left whole
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
For the parsnip remoulade
- 100g parsnips (peeled weight), finely shredded into thin julienne
- 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
For the bresaola, pound all the ingredients together, except the beef, using a pestle and mortar until roughly crushed. Place the meat on a large tray and then divide the crushed cure mixture in half. Reserve one half in an airtight container (at room temperature is fine) and then massage the other half all over the beef. Wrap the beef tightly in cling film and place it on a clean tray or in a suitable container in the fridge for 5 days. Turn the beef once a day.
After 5 days, remove the cling film, pat the meat dry and then rub the remaining cure mixture all over the beef. Wrap it again in fresh cling film and return it to the fridge as before for a further 5 days, turning the beef daily.
After the second period of 5 days, remove the cling film and pat the meat dry. Wrap the beef in muslin cloth and secure with butcher’s string, then hang the meat in the fridge at around 5°C for 4 weeks. (If, however, you can hang the bresaola in a suitable cool, dark, well-ventilated shed or room at the ideal temperature of between 10–15°C, with relative humidity at 70–80% (see Cook’s Notes), then it should be ready in 3 weeks.) Make sure you label the meat with a tag with the production date; this will help you to follow the progress.
The bresaola is ready when the meat has lost about 30% of its original weight (so it’s also a good idea to weigh the wrapped meat before you hang it). Once the bresaola is ready, remove the muslin cloth, wrap the bresaola tightly in cling film or keep it in a dry, airtight container, and store it in the fridge. Use within 2 weeks.
For the salt-baked parsnips, preheat the oven to 160°C/Gas Mark 3. Make the dough by mixing the flour, salt, egg whites and water together in an electric stand mixer using a dough hook. Mix for 3 minutes until combined, then turn out on to a work surface dusted with flour and roll out the dough into a rectangle about 2-cm thick. Place the peeled whole parsnips and thyme sprigs in the centre of the dough and then fold the edges of the dough over to form a sealed parcel. Place the parcel on a baking parchment-lined baking tray and bake in the oven for 1 hour.
Remove from the oven, leave to cool for 10 minutes, then carefully crack the baked crust with a serrated knife, being careful not to cut into the parsnips inside. Remove the cooked parsnips from the crust, then discard the crust and thyme stalks. The salt-baked parsnips can be served either warm, at room temperature or chilled – my preference is warm.
Meanwhile, for the parsnip remoulade, mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, then taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Cover and refrigerate until needed (see Cook’s Notes).
To serve, slice the bresaola and serve with the salt-baked parsnips, parsnip remoulade, crusty bread and a leafy green salad.
Humidity meters can be purchased from places like Argos, B & Q and Amazon and start from as little as £3. You can get ones that have a temperature and humidity meter in one. If the humidity in a room is low, then place a bucket of water in the room; when the humidity is high, then a cooling fan will help to dry the air a bit.
Cure #2 (also know as Prague powder #2) is available from: http://www.sausagemaking.org/acatalog/cure_2.html, use scales that weighs in small quantities, it’s important not to use too much.
The parsnip remoulade can be prepared up to 3 days in advance and kept in an airtight container in the fridge until you are ready to serve.