Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Arugula….rucola….rocket. Why is this spicy green so hard to find, at least in Louisville? And why, when you do finally find it, is it so damn expensive? It used to be that I could only find it at Paul’s, and then only sporadically. Some guy grew it hydroponically for them, so it was absolutely beautiful, but it was still pricey. Some of the newer places re now carrying it…The Fresh Market, Wild Oats, but of course it’s a given that those places are going to be pricey.
This green is as common here as iceberg lettuce is in the states. We’d never heard of it before our first visit, but once we discovered it (thanks Shannon!!) we just couldn’t get enough. Some arugula, shaved parmesan, olive oil and balsamic vinegar….wow! And a few weeks ago I discovered another great salad to make with arugula…unbelievably using yet ANOTHER ingredient that’s hard to find in the states……….Bresaola.

As described in my “Dictionary of Italian Cuisine”, Bresaola is “cured lean beef, lightly salted and marinated in wine, then aged“. I’m guessing the only place you’ll find it in the states is at a specialty market or a genuine Italian deli if you’re lucky enough to have one where you live.

A few weeks ago we ate at La Credenza, the restaurant for the Villa Valentini, our local hotel. The menu is quite good….innovative without being weird, and serves many regional dishes using local ingredients. This salad was delicious, and I knew it would be easy to recreate at home.

  • Cover a dinner plate with a nice amount of arugula that’s been torn into bite-sized pieces.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  • Sprinkle bite sized pieces of bresaola over the arugula. 
Now comes the best part. You’ll need to prepare this in advance. Coarsely grate some fresh Parmigiano onto a nonstick cookie sheet and spread it out into a smooth layer.

Put this into a 350º oven for about ten minutes, or until the edges are starting to brown.

Remove from oven and let cool. When you’re ready to serve your salad, break the cheese into pieces and sprinkle on top.
Serve with additional vinegar and oil as desired. This salad is so good and so simple you simply won’t believe it.

I made this as a special treat for Art, who didn’t realize that this was what we were having for dinner, even though: HE was the one who ordered the bresaola, HE was the one who trimmed and cleaned the arugula, and HE was the one who grated the cheese while I sprinkled it onto a non-stick pan! I couldn’t believe it when he was really surprised to see this salad sitting in front of him!


I’ve been saying for weeks that summer is over, and the rains we’ve had over the past several days just confirm that feeling. We’ve had maybe ten days of really hot weather this summer….days when both the days AND the nights were hot, but for the most part it’s been a pleasant if dry summer. Right now it feels like fall.

Every time it rains cooler temperatures seem to move in, and this past time has been no exception. We checked the fifteen day forecast and temperatures up in the 90”s were predicted, but we’ll see. Yesterday was mostly cloudy, but the clouds were both white and black, and blue sky was visible here and there. When it began to rain later in the afternoon we were both surprised…all summer long the clouds seemed to tease us by passing right over San Venanzo on their way to where the rain would fall, and for us to be the recipients of rain several days in a row is quite unusual. I hope it’s not too late for the crops that need it.

I also hope we don’t go straight into fall without passing go and collecting $200. We still deserve warm weather, and fall really isn’t such a big deal here anyway. With no sugar maples to color the hillsides, all we see are the greens of the pines mixed with a sprinkling of red/rust and maybe a bit of yellow. After fall comes winter, and those days can be cold and rainy, sometime foggy, and definitely short.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home