Bündnerfleisch with Vegetable Salad

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Bündnerfleisch is the Swiss version of the bresaola of Italy. It is beef that is cured by drying, either in the high, cool mountain air of Switzerland or in front of a fan in a walk-in refrigerator. It is a perfect first course with champagne, very light but with enough flavor and bite to awaken the most slumbering appetite. Its one drawback for the home is that, like prosciutto, it has to be sliced very, very thin, and requires a mechanical sheer. So order it already sliced and use it that day. Serve it with any vegetable salad that appeals to you. This one was inspired by the chef at the Remington Hotel in Houston.

Ingredients

  • 24 slices bündnerfleisch
  • 32 small French green beans
  • 2 medium yellow or crookneck squash
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • teaspoons finely chopped fresh tarragon or marjoram leaves

Method

Arrange the beef in a single layer on each of 4 plates and prepare the salad as follows.

Put a pot of salted water on to boil. Cut the ends off the green beans and cut the squashes into thin strips.

Separate the watercress into sprigs and rinse and spin them dry. Store in the refrigerator.

Put ice and water in a large bowl.

Put the beans in the boiling water, cook 2 minutes, and then add the squash. Cook 3 minutes and drain. Plunge them in the ice water for 30 seconds. Drain well and set aside.

Dissolve salt and pepper to taste in the lemon juice and whisk in the olive oil and tarragon. Toss the watercress very lightly with the dressing and arrange it in a circular pattern in the center of each plate of beef slices. Toss the vegetables with the remaining dressing and put them on top of the watercress.

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