We learned this recipe from a restaurant called Piperno in the Jewish quarter in Rome. The owner very kindly gave us the recipe and demonstrated the method.


  • 4 kg/9 lb topside beef (after trimming)
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • fresh roughly ground black pepper
  • chopped chives


  • enough red and white wine to cover the joint (equal amounts)
  • 750 g/1¾ lb coarse sea salt
  • a large bunch of rosemary
  • 12 bay leaves
  • 24 cloves
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 40 black peppercorns
  • 12 dried chillies
  • 4 strips orange peel


Trim the joint of beef, removing fat and sinews.

Put all the ingredients for the marinade in a large bowl, add the meat, cover and leave for 1 week in a cool place or until the meat feels firm.

Hang the meat in a dry, airy place for another week until it feels firm enough to be sliced thinly. It will feel solid, no give at all as you press with your fingers. Rub the joint with olive oil, wrap in greaseproof paper and keep in the refrigerator until required.

To serve, slice very thinly. Sprinkle with olive oil and season with pepper and chives. Garnish with wedges of lemon.

Do not attempt to preserve a smaller piece of meat, it is not satisfactory. Bresaola, like Parma ham, has a long life and keeps well for 3 months.