Breasaola, Peach and Fennel Salad

When you grow up in Italy you eat salad for one reason and one reason only, because your mother makes you! Our regional cuisine thrives on seasonal produce and we do have an incredible amount of vegetable side dishes that are served always paired with you main course. If you happen to sit down at a restaurant you can easily notice that no menu will ever have a “Salad Section”… if you want one you just have to ask your waiter for it.

And this is the thing, I would say that in general we have only two kinds of salad widely available: Mixed Green Salad, and Arugula Salad. The first one is usually a very straight forward and absolutely boring mix of Lettuce, Frisé, chopped Tomatoes and if you are in luck maybe a sprinkle of  Carrot. The second one is even simpler but at least has a little bit more of a flavor; Rucola can in fact be found either served with some shaved Parmigiano Reggiano or in most occasions it constitutes the bed for your Tagliata Steak, in this case you might also enjoy some Cherry Tomatoes with it.

Since I moved to California about a decade ago, I have learned how to transform salad into a main course, and I have to say, I really enjoy the incredible amount of possibilities that this simple dish has to offer: flavor, creativity, color… I have become fond of the Salad for Lunch concept, especially if I do not have leftovers from the evening before sitting in the fridge. The following recipe is something I came up with during the second season of Extra Virgin, and it is now a staple in our house.


Prep Time: 15 mins/ Serves: 4-6

3 ripe yellow peaches, pitted and cut into thin wedges
½ medium head fennel, thinly sliced on a mandolin
1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced on a mandolin
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, to drizzle
1 Lemon, juiced
4 big handfuls wild arugula
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ pound thin slices Bresola

Add peaches, fennel, and onion to a medium sized bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss with your hands.


Lay the slices of bresola on the edges of your serving platter, add the handfuls of arugula to the center, and top the arugula with the fennel mixture. Drizzle again with some Extra virgin olive oil.


Serve the salad immediately after plating- it can’t sit too long or the lemon juice will “cook” the bresola.