Recipes from Italy ~ Poached Meat Makes Picnic Perfect

by Ashley in Italy /
Ashley in Italy's picture
Jun 26, 2009 / 1 comments

Lunch Al Fresco at La Tavola Marche Agriturismo & Cooking School

Lesso di vitello con salsa verde
Poached beef with green sauce

A quick note about lesso or boiled/poached meat: you can make a lesso of anything - fish, chicken, beef even potatoes. A great secondo for a hot day - as you can make it far ahead of time & then there is no need to turn on your stove in the heat of the day! I must say that boiled meat sounds gross - boiled meat with green sauce sounds like you may find it on a shoddy cafeteria menu - oh but worry not my friends - this is a wonderful, light picnic perfect dish!

serves 4

little over a lb. of a tough roast: rump roast, eye round or chuck roast will work well
enough broth to cover (The secret to this dish is in the broth/brodo - must be of high quality!)
1 carrot
1 rib of celery
half an onion
1 bay leaf
1 leek
couple of sprigs of parsley

In a large pot, bring your broth to a boil. Drop in your aromatics (herbs & veggies) and return the pot to a boil.

Gently add your meat to the broth & veggies. Allow pot to return to a boil.

Lower to simmer for 2 - 4 hours until meat is extremely tender.

Remove meat & place in the fridge to cool.

Broth can be strained & saved to be served as a soup or another dish. Freezes very well.
Lesso con salsa verde - Poached beef
Salsa Verde

2 handfuls of parsley (stems removed), chopped
2 cloves of garlic, skins removed, smashed
1 tablespoons of capers, chopped
4 fillets of anchovies, chopped
pepper flakes as desired
2 - 4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil

In a small sauce pan add a couple tablespoons of the oil, on a low heat fry the garlic.

When outside of garlic turns golden brown add capers & anchovies & pepper flakes. Pulverize into a paste with the back of a wooden spoon.

Remove pan from heat. Add vinegar & parsley incorporating into the mixture.

Once mixture has had a chance to cool down for a minute, slowly stir in the rest of the olive oil and adjust the seasoning.

Allow salsa mix to sit out & rest for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to incorporate.

Meanwhile -
Remove the meat from the fridge. Slice thinly against the grain. Lay meat on a plate in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt & top with salsa verde.

Allow for the finished dish to sit for 15-minutes or so once topped. It can be done far ahead in advance & refrigerated - but remember to pull it out of the fridge early so the oil comes back up to room temperature & is not congealed.

Serve lesso atop a bed of salad. It can also be topped with quartered cherry tomatoes, shaved parmesean, finely sliced celery, etc. etc.

Take this basic recipe & apply it to anything - boiled potatoes, poached fish or poached chicken breast, even a poached egg are beautiful examples of lesso con salsa verde. There is also a mayonaise based sauce - but I prefer the one above.

Ashley Bartner is the Living in Italy Editor for Wandering Educators.

La Tavola Marche Agriturismo & Cooking Holiday


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