If you’re a fan of Italian cuisine, you’ve probably heard of beef braciole. But forget what you know about the traditional recipe cooked in tomato sauce. Today, we’re exploring a lighter and more tantalizing version that originated from the Strait of Sicily. Introducing Sicilian beef braciole, the perfect bite-sized treat that will transport your taste buds to the Mediterranean.
Braciolette: Small Braciole from Messina
While this may not be your typical braciole recipe, it offers a unique twist with smaller, more delicate meat rolls known as braciolette. These tender morsels are fastened together with a skewer (spiedini) and broiled to perfection. With a crispy breadcrumb coating flavored with Parmesan, garlic, and basil, these braciolette boast a sensational combination of textures and flavors.
You can get creative with the fillings too! While the classic version features stringy cheese, you can experiment with chicken, pork, or even swordfish. For a vegetarian alternative, thinly sliced zucchini or eggplants work wonders. These braciolette are a hit at children’s parties and buffets, thanks to their manageable size and irresistible tenderness.
Baking Braciole without Sauce: Pure Brilliance
Wondering how to cook these braciolette without the usual tomato sauce? The secret lies in baking or grilling them. The thin beef slices retain their moisture and achieve a delightful crispiness with the help of a breadcrumb coating. To ensure the breadcrumbs adhere perfectly, the beef is lightly coated with olive oil.
For an extra burst of flavor, consider adding a small piece of provola, scamorza, or cacio cavallo cheese in the middle of each roll. These cheeses hail from the Calabria and Sicilian region, but you can also opt for mozzarella or cheddar. The result is a symphony of taste in every bite.
Choosing the Right Beef Cut
The success of any braciole hinges on the choice of beef. Opt for lean cuts like rump cover or rump steak, sliced paper-thin. But don’t worry if you’re not confident in your carving skills. Your butcher can assist you in achieving the perfect thickness, akin to a carpaccio steak. If you prefer a hands-on approach, an electric knife can be a valuable ally.
Italian Seasoned Breadcrumbs: A Pantry Staple
To bring out the best in these Sicilian braciole, proper seasoning is key. That’s where Italian seasoned breadcrumbs come into play. I always keep a stash of these flavorful breadcrumbs in my freezer. It’s a simple yet effective way to enhance any dish. Here’s my recipe for Italian seasoned breadcrumbs:
- 3 cups of grated stale bread
- ½ cup of Parmesan
- ½ cup of basil leaves or parsley
- 1 garlic clove
Grate the Parmesan and bread, blending the garlic with the bread to infuse it with flavor. Then, mix the basil and grated Parmesan with the breadcrumbs. Let the mixture rest overnight to allow the flavors to meld. Don’t fret if you have leftovers; simply freeze them for future culinary endeavors.
Making Sicilian Braciole: A Journey to Flavor Town
Now that we have all the components ready, let’s dive into making these delightful Sicilian braciole.
Preparing the Meat
- Carve the beef into thin slices
- Tenderize the slices evenly with a meat pounder
- Cut the slices into small, long strips
- Season the strips with salt and olive oil
- Pour 1 cup of breadcrumbs onto a plate and coat each strip of beef thoroughly
- Roll the beef tightly into small rolls, optionally adding a small piece of cheese
- Arrange the rolls on a tray
- Skewer 5 to 6 rolls on each skewer
- Bake at 355°F (180°C) for 30 minutes
- Flip the skewers and bake for an additional 10 minutes
What to Serve with Braciole
These Sicilian beef braciole are incredibly satisfying on their own, but they also pair well with fresh salads dressed simply with extra virgin olive oil and salt. For a perfect harmony of flavors, serve them alongside rice-stuffed tomatoes. Alternatively, grilled vegetables, baked ratatouille, or a fresh tabbouleh add a refreshing touch to the meat.
Variations: Beyond Beef Braciole
While beef is the star of this recipe, don’t be afraid to explore other protein options. Pork and chicken work splendidly, as long as they’re thinly sliced. If you’re short on time or prefer quicker preparations, try the baked breaded chicken breast recipe. And for seafood enthusiasts, give baked swordfish braciole a whirl.
For vegetarians and vegans, thinly sliced zucchini or eggplants make excellent alternatives. Keep it simple or add a small cube of cheese for a heartier meal.
More Beef Delights Await
If you’ve become enamored with beef after savoring these Sicilian braciole, here are some more tantalizing beef recipes for you to explore:
- Classic Veal Milanese
- Brazilian Picanha BBQ
- Beef Daube Provencal
- Beef Pie with Marsala and Mushrooms
- Beef Sausage Hand Pies
- Stuffed Round Courgettes
I hope you enjoy making and devouring these Sicilian beef braciole! If you give them a try, leave a comment, and let me know your thoughts. Don’t forget to FOLLOW ME on Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram or sign up for my newsletter to discover more delicious culinary inspirations. And remember, the kitchen is a place of endless possibilities, so keep exploring and creating! Ekilove