Bresaola Pizza

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Hello there!

I just got back from the International Pizza Expo where I did two cooking demonstrations; Vegan and Vegetarian Pizzas and Beyond Bread sticks which included all sorts of breads that I sell here at Avalanche, in Athens, Ohio. The Expo is held in Las Vegas and is the most interesting venue for all things pizza…and more.

Today, lets do the Bresaola Pizza. In the last blog entry, I showed you the easy and fast way to make bresaola which we will top this pie with.

This fabulous pizza will start with what should be a dead dough. In fact this dough has sat in cold fermentation an incredible 13 days!

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If my awesome baker Torrey had used commercial yeast, this dough would have died two days ago. So now I’ve pulled it an look for activity from a companion dough on the same tray. The alveoli, or cells (above right) that have formed from the gasses give my nose that sour-sweet wheat that hasn’t turned to an acidic nightmare yet. As it heats up in my proofing cabinet, it acts like an old racehorse that is gonna give it his ‘all’ to win one last race! This is what I live for, to push the limits of dough making and conventional wisdom to see what new flavor, textures and crust an old dough can enlighten me with. Enough with the sappy, egotistical B.S., lets roll baby!

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Because I am using an aggressive dough, I need a great strong cheese to compliment the chew and sourness of the disc. I was lucky enough to cop some great cheese named Everton from Jacobs and Birchford in Indiana. It’s one of those iconic cheesed that you never forget with a melt like an aged Gruyere. I loved the competing grass and incredible tangy depth of flavor this cheese has and wish I had a Jackie O’s beer to go along with it. Along with the Everton, I have some fresh mozzarella, wild mushrooms, lemon cream and watercress.

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I decided to cook the pizza at 630 degrees in my Matador oven. This would quick cook the mushrooms melting in the Everton and mozzarella for an old school pizza.

 

Check out this time lapse and see what a naturally fermented dough that is one third all purpose and two thirds high gluten can do. (Holy smokes, was that a sentence?)

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Here is the pizza right out of the oven. Now is time to dress this pie up.

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First I mixed up the lemon with local Snowville Creme Fraiche to give the pizza a bright note to go with the watercress. I let the salty bresaola just melt on the cheese and mushrooms then topped the pizza with more Everton, watercress and then the creme.

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Wow, this baby is the bomb! Salty sour crunch with acidic and smooth cheesy notes followed by the umami of the mushrooms…paradise!

 

 


House Cured Bresaola- Perfect for Pizza

 

 

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The Northern Italians in the Valtellina region of Lombardi have it good. They are lucky enough to imbibe in the foods that are reflective of the mountains around them which snake up though Lichtenstein, Switzerland and Austria. This area northeast of Milan is known for Pizzocheri, the wonderful buckwheat pasta dish, fresh fish from the deep lakes, its fine polenta dishes and Casera cheese but the most famous product that is traced back over 100 years ago is bresaola.  The small town of Chiavenna is ground zero for this dried beef because it offers a great, dry microclimate for air dying beef like bresaola and the smoked version, “Bresaola Affumicata.”

I’ve been familiar with bresaola for many years. At the Primavera restaurant at the Fairmont hotel in Chicago, my friend Chef Giovanni di Negris served bresaola atop thinly shaved fennel salad, lemon and Parmigiano Reggiano and in Boston, we made a Bresaola Condita served with lemon, oregano and egg. Both were great dishes but its very rare to see pizzas finished with this fine, air dried beef and I think it’s time to change that.

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I’ve found that curing meats like Bresaola, guanciale, lardo, speck and salami bring a more personal aspect to pizza making. I make pizza everyday and the simple act of knowing that I created the dough, sauce, cheese and toppings is what craftsmanship is all about. The time it takes to plan, forage, cure and dry meats creates a fantastic sense of anticipation, ownership and even love when I pull that hot pizza from the oven. My bresaola starts as a cut from the raw rump or top round and is enhanced with spices, wine, vinegar and citrus and time that creates a complex beefy flavor when dried and sliced thin atop a piping hot pizza.

This is my go to recipe for a great Bresaola which appeared in Pizza Today Magazine in February 2015. Because I am a Pizzeria owner, I just don’t have the time to cure and dry a larger cut of beef so I opt for smaller cuts which cuts the curing time down. You will need a curing cabinet to cure the meat. I’ve found a great one in any white wine cooler that can be had for 200 clams because it keeps a perfect temperature and if you put a bowl of salted water at the bottom, it produces enough moisture to not be too dry.

Ingredients:

Two pound eye of round roast, trimmed of all fat

One cup white wine

One cup red wine

Four cloves diced garlic

One teaspoon powdered cinnamon

Two tablespoons whole black peppercorns

Zest from one orange and one lemon

Three bay leaves crumbled

One teaspoon ground cloves

Two teaspoons dried chili flakes

Five, four-inch stalks of rosemary, stripped and rough chopped

Five ounces course sea salt

Process:

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Place all ingredients in a heavy plastic bag and mix with your hand. Cut the eye of round lengthwise in half if you want. (I’ve found that this makes the meat area smaller and is only to expedite the cure.) Immerse the meat in the bag to marinate for seven days in the refrigerator or until the meat feels as if it has hardened.

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Remove from the marinade, rinse under cold water and wipe the meat dry let sit at room temperature for two hours to dry.

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Place in a double wrap of cheesecloth tied with kitchen twine.

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Hang the meat in a dry, airy place with a temperature of 55 to 58 degrees Fahrenheit to cure. A white wine cooler, (the best curing cabinets ever) is a great choice for this. Cure for two to three weeks for the meat to lose thirty percent of its bulk.

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Slice thin and serve as you would Prosciutto di Parma with Parmigiano Reggiano, lemon, apples, arugula or with just a splash of olive oil and pepper or you can make a miraculously delicious pizza like I did in the next posting. Until then… Semper Pie!