Saturday, November 24, 2007

Weekend Herb Blogging #110

Weekend Herb Blogging heads to Melbourne, where I'll soon be returning and our host for this week is the fabulous Truffle from What's on my plate.

I've had quite flaky internet access in the last seven days so I haven't done as much as I would have liked so I'll be keeping this entry simple and make a classic Italian dish using this wonderful Rucola.

Rocket, Rugola, Rucola, Arugula, Roquette

Rucola, Arugula, Rocket, Roquette, whatever the name, it is still the same thing, Eruca Sativa to give it the proper name. High in Vitamin C and Iron it's a leaf that has been used since Roman times.

This particularly gorgeous bouquet of Rucola came from the Florence Market and it drew my attention as it seemed to bear little resemblance to the Rocket I can find back home. For one, it's a much larger leaf but it isn't tough, it is actually quite soft. There is that peppery bite but there's a bit more variance in the taste.

Once acquired I knew there was one dish I just had to make and it involved another purchase, Bresaola della Valtellina

Bresaola della Valtellina

Bresaola is air-dried and salted beef thigh and in the case of Bresaola della Valtellina it is especially regarded due to the quality of the alpine air of the region. What particularly impresses is just how soft the meat has become and it carries a pureness to its flavour. Once you're able to taste it this fresh it really does spoil you and I think it will be very hard to return to either the locally produced or imported versions as they just cannot compare.

With these two ingredients you have the basis of a classic dish that you find in just about every restaurant - served simply as an appetiser or first course, you'll usually find it listed as Bresaola con Rucola on the menus

Bresaola with Rucola

Bresaola con Rucola/Bresaola with Rucola

finely sliced Bresaola
Rucola (Rocket leaves), washed and dried
good Extra Virgin Olive oil
freshly grated black pepper
shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano

Lay the slices of Bresaola on your serving dish, overlapping slightly. Place a mound of Rucola in the centre of your dish. Grind over some black pepper and then drizzle over with the your favourite Extra Virgin Olive oil - a good "green" tasting oil is best. Finally sprinkle over with a little shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Serve at once and enjoy with some crusty bread.

It is that simple but it is the combination of flavours that work so exquisitely and makes it a dish for all seasons and all tastes.

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  1. It sounds fantastic! I really love arugula (whatever name you call it!) I buy it regularly, but never had it with anything quite as special as this.

  2. Great post and the great thing about arugula is that it's available now all year 'round.

  3. Thanks Kalyn - it has been a special experience to be able to sample all these wonderful products.

    Thanks Peter - makes us all very lucky.

  4. I've had Italy, and yes, it is wonderful!

  5. Thanks Katie, it's the best place to eat it!

  6. In Italy it's also called ruchetta (pronounced rooketta) or - closer to Roma - rughetta (roogetta). You see people out with their scissors harvesting the stuff in parks here.

  7. As you said about braesola, I can GET arugula where I live, but it rarely looks as green and fresh as that shown in your picture. Mmm. I'm covetous of your opportunity to shop in the Florence markets AND have a kitchen at the same time. To add to your list of names, in Greece this plant is known as roka (ρόκα).

  8. Thanks Laurie - it was quite a great experience to live as a local in Florence.

  9. Oh dear, now I want just this for dinner...

  10. It's the right season for it Plume!

  11. jamie oliver took your recipe and took it one step higher in his new cookbook and television program jamie at home...

  12. You cannot "take" a recipe that is an Italian classic - you cannot claim ownership of it. Do people seriously think Italian food begins and ends and is defined by Jamie's Italy?


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