Tag Archives: Da Nerbone

Tender beef brisket with salsa verde

I’m still on a Le Creuset high and I’ve discovered a butcher at the nearby Tekka Markets in Little India that does all sorts of cuts of meat that I can’t easily find at my local supermarket (read: Tekka Markets = HEAVEN)

I went there in search of beef short ribs and ended up coming home with the ribs (post to come) and a giant slab of beef brisket. Inspired by a combination of a weekend of watching various cooking shows, with Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay both cooking delicious beef brisket, and my memory of the amazing panino bollito from Da Nerbone in Florence, I started making this dish in the morning, for dinner.

The result was ultra-soft meltingly tender beef that I sliced (actually shredded because it was so soft) and served with a fresh salsa verde on a baguette that I quickly dipped into the cooking juices. And I now also have a large pot of delicious beef stock which I will be storing first overnight in the fridge, skimming off the fat in the morning and then pour into ziplock bags that will be stored flat in my freezer.

Ingredients

  1. 2kg beef brisket
  2. 1 glass white wine
  3. 2 large onions cut into chunks
  4. 3 sticks celery, roughly sliced
  5. 2 large carrots, roughly sliced
  6. 1 head garlic
  7. 1 tsp black peppercorns
  8. 2 bay leaves
  9. 5 cloves
  10. sea salt

For the salsa verde

  1. large handful flat parsley leaves
  2. good pinch of sea salt flakes
  3. good glug of extra virgin olive oil
  4. 2-3 shallots, finely diced
  5. 2 tbls red wine vinegar

Method

  1. Season the brisket with a generous amount of salt on both sides and then roll and tie your brisket. You could probably keep it flat, but I think rolling it helps when it needs to be sliced and served
  2. Heat up some oil on medium high in a dutch oven (or any cast iron or heavy-based pan with a lid)
  3. Brown the brisket on all sides – really get some colour on it
  4. Once browned, remove the brisket, and deglaze the pan with a glass of white wine to release all those sticky bits on the bottom of the pan. The wine will quickly evaporate
  5. Reduce the head to medium and add the onions, gently sweating them for a few minutes before adding the carrots and celery and continuing to cook them till they slightly soften
  6. Put the beef back in, nestling it in amongst the vegetables and add the peppercorns, cloves and bay leaves, and then add enough water to just cover the beef
  7. Cover and bring to boil, then reduce the heat so that it’s at gently simmer. Let it slowly blip away, covered for 7 hours. You can also put the whole thing in your oven on 150 C / 300 F (I prefer it on the stove so I can easily peek in). If there is any beef uncovered by the water, turn it over halfway
  8. For the salsa verde: add the diced shallots to the red wine vinegar and set aside
  9. In a mortar and pestle, add the parsley leaves with the salt (make sure you use salt flakes as it helps to create more friction to help break down the parsley leaves) and pound/grind until you end up with bright green mush
  10. Add the olive oil to the parsley/salt mix
  11. Combine the parsley oil with the shallot/vinegar mix
  12. To eat: spread the salsa verde on your bun
  13. Dipping into the juices is optional – I dipped the super crusty end of my baguette
  14. Top with a generous amount of the sliced/shredded beef brisket and tuck in !

Nerbone at Mercato Centrale, Florence

I’m excited that this is my first post with a video ! I really think the video captures the entire experience, which is waiting for the slightly Soup Nazi guy behind the counter to slice super tender bollito – boiled beef – or lampredotto – tripe/the fourth stomach of the cow – before piling it on to crusty roll along with a fresh green salsa and fiery red sauce.

The place is mobbed with hungry locals and tourists. No-one tells the tourists that there is no queue system here. You order and pay at a separate counter, then it’s like being in a bar – shuffle your way (using elbows if you must) and try to make eye contact with the man who will give you what you want. You can see how soft the meat is as he slices and chops it, and before he adds the meat to the crusty roll, he dips the roll into the beef’s own juices. It adds just the right amount of juiciness to the roll, which is probably why they have been around since the market opened in 1874.

My topped up panini being assembled

D and I ordered one roll of each. I love tripe, but even for me, an entire roll full of tripe was a bit much, so I went back and ordered a half portion more of the bollito and “topped up” my roll.

Both beef and lampredotto were meltingly tender and so full of flavour. We stuffed our faces while watching him make roll after roll for other hungry customers.

If you are in Florence and love simple food, you absolutely must go to the Mercato Centrale (which is awesome in itself for the produce you can get there) and visit Nerbone.

You can also get roast meat sandwiches, which also looked awesome, but you need to prioritise your precious stomach space because they are only open from 7am – 2pm.

Nerbone
Inside Mercato Centrale, entrance on Via dell’Ariento, stand no. 292 (ground floor)
Near San Lorenzo & the Mercato Centrale