The Absolute Best Cut Of Beef To Use For Carne Salada

Raw carne salada on a green plate
Raw carne salada on a green plate - Bernd Juergens/Shutterstock

Many of the world's delicacies have humble beginnings, often linked to food preservation and functionality. Carne salada, salt-cured beef from the northern Italian province of Trentino, has occupied both a utilitarian and culinary purpose since its 15th century origins. Now, it's a proud Italian delicacy, recognized by the Denominazione Comunale di Origine (DeCO), an even more specific denomination than the more well known DOC.

Tasting Table consulted chef and owner of Jasper's Restaurant and host of Live! From Jasper's Kitchen Radio, Jasper J. Mirabile Jr., about the best cut of beef to use for carne salada. Mirabile doesn't break with tradition when it comes to the meat selection, informing us that "the traditional Trentino dish is usually preferred from the beef rump, which is sourced from the back of the thigh." The rump is a lean cut of beef that would otherwise be tough were it not for the salting and up to a month-long curing process that turns it into a silky, soft texture with a rich umami flavor.

Chef Mirabile also relates the importance of adding spices to transform a simple salt-cure into the prized regional delicacy that carne salada is today: "Juniper, rosemary and garlic are essential in this dish." Other modern techniques that ensure the most decadent flavor and texture for carne salada include meticulously trimming the cut of rump meat of any fat, tendons, or nerves. Furthermore, the meat will need frequent massages in preparation for and throughout the curing process to help it absorb the aromas of the seasonings Mirabile recommends.

Read more: The Most Popular Cuts Of Steak Ranked Worst To Best

How To Enjoy Carne Salada

Carne salada served over lettuce leaves
Carne salada served over lettuce leaves - Baroni Luca Enrico/Shutterstock

Carne salada is a versatile dish because you can eat it raw or cooked. You can share it as a flavorful appetizer similar to steak tartare, giving you the most unadulterated taste of all the spices and aromatics used to season it. Drizzle a slice with extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice to enjoy over a peppery crostini. You could also pair raw carne salada with sautéed porcini mushrooms for an extra boost of umami. Or, serve it alongside hard, smoky, salty cheeses, olives, and giardiniera for a well-rounded charcuterie board.

In the Garda region, where carne salada originated, pizzerias feature it as the house specialty over a red sauce with fior di latte, shaved truffle, and rocket and Grana Padano. You could also combine it with some umami-balancing bitter greens like arugula over a white pizza for a perfect trifecta of savory, bitter, and salty.

Sautéing or grilling carne salada is another way to make a main dish out of it. In Trentino, thick cuts of carne salada are fried in olive oil and paired with local beans. You could also fry it up with pork instead of skirt steak in this recipe for ragù alla Bolognese served over papardelle. It would also taste delicious over creamy, cheesy polenta or alongside earthy Parmesan potato pancakes.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.