On our recent trip to Italy, we stopped by a gorgeous café in Modena and fell in love with this salad. It comes from the Emilia Romagna region in the north, which is famous for its cured meats and balsamic vinegar.  It is light and fresh, perfect for a hot summer day, and the fresh strawberries give it a fun and festive feel.

The most important lesson we learned about food in Italy is that you can make delicious simple dishes, but the produce must be top quality. Bresaola is made from beef which is salted and rubbed with spices such as juniper, cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s aged for 2-3 months and results in a rich and luxurious cold cut. If you can’t get a hold of bresaola, you can use prosciutto, jamon or coppa instead. You get what you pay for with balsamic vinegar. Many supermarket varieties contain more red wine vinegar than balsamic, so make sure you buy a good quality aged balsamic.

You can also watch the New Idea Test Kitchen Video here.


Serves 4

–        200g bresaola (cured beef), thinly sliced

–        6 medium sized strawberries, finely diced

–        200g mache (aka lambs lettuce)

–        2T top quality extra virgin olive oil

–        ¼ stale baguette, 1 or 2 days old

–        Olive oil, to brush

–        1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar

–        Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste


1)     Using a very sharp serrated knife or a mandolin, slice the baguette into micro thin slices. Brush with some extra virgin oilive oil on both sides. Spread them evenly on a baking sheet lined with baking paper, top with another layer of baking paper and another baking sheet to sit flush. Bake in the oven at 180C for 10 minutes until golden brown and allow to cool.

2)     Place the vinegar  in a small saucepan and heat over medium untill reduced by 2/3. Allow to cool.

3)     Finely dice the strawberries. Dress the mache lightly with some olive oil and salt & pepper.

4)     On a large flat plate (or 4 dinner plates), arrange mache, top with bresaola, sprinkle with strawberries and drizzle with reduced balsamic. Season with some freshly cracked black pepper and finally finish with some croutons.