Bresaola is air-dried, salted beef that has been aged two or three months until it becomes hard and turns a dark red, almost purple color. It is made from top round, and it is lean and tender, with a sweet, musty smell. It originated in Valtellina, a valley in the Alps of northern Italy’s Lombardy region.
The word comes from the diminutive of Lombard bresada (“braised”).
As an antipasto, bresaola is usually sliced paper-thin and served at room temperature or slightly chilled. It is most commonly served and eaten with drizzled olive oil and lemon juice or balsamic vinegar, and served with rocket (rucola, arugula) salad, cracked black pepper, and fresh Parmesan cheese. Sliced bresaola should be stored well wrapped in a refrigerator.