Roast Beef "al sale", minimum effort and maximum impact
This is a delicious and very simple recipe for Roast Beef, very popular in Italy.
There is no fat used in cooking the meat and the salt crust traps in the moisture, making the meat tender, juicy and flavored. It might come as a surprise but the salt doesn’t cover the taste, as long as you are careful to clean the crust as good as possible.
Ingredients for 4 persons
- 1.5 lb eye of round beef roast
- 4.5 lb coarse sea salt
On the bottom of a tall, narrow oven pan, make a layer out of 2 lbs of coarse sea salt, lay on it the piece of meat and fill with the remaining salt the surrounding space and the top, forming a complete coating around the beef. Moisten with water the salt surface so that it hardens better while in the oven.
Put the pan in the oven pre-heated to 425F and cook the meat for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
Helping yourself with a couple of spoons, remove the salt, scraping it gently and eliminate all of it little by little.
Extract the meat and slice it against the grain, season with a generous grinding of pepper and serve garnished, to taste, with cooked or raw vegetables .
I prefer the slices cut very thin (1/4 inch at most) with a ham slicer. This one here used to be a key piece of my kitchenware, the only piece of furniture that I regret not having brought from Italy. Very heavy duty, quite common in Italian households.
This meat is already well flavored and can be enjoyed as such. The roast is also perfect cold, with a drizzle of EVO and Parmigiano Reggiano pieces, like a carpaccio.
The secret lies in the cooking time, add 20 minutes for each additional pound.
For a plate of even richer flavor, you can prepare the crust of salt with aromatized coarse sea salt, either Immortelle or Dalmatian spices, or a combination of all the salts we offer . Prior to covering the meat with the upper layer of salt, brush it with a little extra virgin olive oil and add on it a few laurel leaves.
Torgiano Rosso Riserva DOCG, from the Umbria region of Italy, south of the medieval City of Perugia. The grape is at least 70% San Giovese, and the wine will be at least 3 years old. It is very well adapted for roasts of beef or veal. The best of the wines from this region of Central Italy. It is a bit infrequent in the US, pricing around $15.
Now the really tricky part ...
.... the choice of the beef cut !
And that's because the beef cuts don't translate easily from French to Italian to English. True, it all comes from the same general area of the animal, but it just seems that nobody has the same map!
In Italy the Roast Beef would be out of "la fesa":
In France, for immemorial times, the word for Roast Beef has actually been "rosbif" and, by the way, Beef Steak is "bifteck" (Rosbif is also the derogatory name that French people use for Britons). The most common cut used for "rosbif" is the "tende de tranche". You will appreciate that the French specimen features many more parts than its siblings and it is characteristically looking the opposite direction: we (French) call this "l'exception française"; our European friends have a different name for it ;)
Finally, in the US, the Roast Beef would most commonly be the eye of round. Of course you can do it with a piece of tenderloin, but it is in average 3 times more expensive.