Since returning to Spa on Saturdays since the new year, we have certainly noticed a shift in taste towards the leaner salumi. While our regulars have been back to top up their ravaged parmesan supplies, we were struck particularly by the popularity of our carne salata.
This smoked beef is made by Mario Cardinale Bosio in Lanzada, in the mountains near the Swiss border. The process of making it begins in the same way as the more famous bresaola, with the tender salmon cut, or eye of the silverside, which Mario rubs with salt, cinammon, nutmeg and juniper. He leaves the beef in this mix for one week for bresaola before hanging it to cure, but the carne salata stays in for a further week before it is smoked and becomes ready to eat.
This produces an incredibly tender, moist and lean salume with a complex flavour. At this time of year, carne salata is often cut a bit more thickly, brushed with olive oil and balsamic on both sides and quickly pan fried. However, it is more common to see it served thinly sliced on rocket and parmesan, drizzled with olive oil and lemon. Mario also recommends arranging carne salata on a platter with grapefruit and chicory.
Both bresaola and carne salata are extensively produced throughout Italy, so Mario is unusual for only producing a total of 70 a week. Since his butcher’s shop is at altitude he is also able to use less salt in his production process, and being only 500m from the ski lift keeps him busy at this time of year too.