First Course · Food · Recipe

Watercress salad wrapped in chèvre and bresaola, with lavender and fennel pollen.

It was Thanksgiving, and I gave you pulled pork I’m sorry.  I just wasn’t very organized this year.  I didn’t trial-run anything for the Thanksgiving feast at Jim’s parents—I hadn’t even decided to attend until two days before.  But I do have something for you.  It’s not turkey… or mashed potatoes… or pumpkin pie.  But it is delicious and was an interesting little addition to our Thanksgiving: Watercress salads wrapped in lavender-and-fennel pollen chèvre and grass-fed bresaola.

Now, I wouldn’t normally post something that required such specific ingredients.  But this just happens to be that good. Worth spending the time searching for grass-fed bresaola.  Worth finding lavender-and-fennel pollen chèvre (it shouldn’t be that hard).  And they are definitely worth the time spent to roll them up individually.

The grass-fed bresaola has earthy, grassy tones that I wouldn’t necessarily want in my air-dried meat—except that it goes so fabulously well with the flowery lavender and talcy and yellowed fennel-pollen.  Add to that sharp watercress (with their juicy, crunchy stems attached) and good, (at least 6 year-) aged balsamic and, really, how could I not post that combination?

It was really perfect for Thanksgiving—a meaty, earthy start to a warm and cozy turkey dinner—and would fancy-up a roast chicken dinner party anyday.  So… now you know what to do with that grass-fed bresaola and all that lavender-and-fennel pollen goat cheese lying around…

Watercress salad wrapped in chèvre and bresaola, with lavender and fennel-pollen

Makes 20-25

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon good balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil or other oil
  • kosher salt, pepper
  • 1 large bunch watercress, trimmed with most of stems left on
  • 20-25 slices bresaola
  • 4 oz. lavender-and-fennel pollen chèvre, room temperature

In a medium bowl, mix balsamic, lemon juice, and oil until combined.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Add watercress and dress so all the leaves are wet.  Let sit for 20 minutes to 1 hour.

Working one at a time, spread goat cheese carefully onto a slice of bresaola, taking care to apply enough pressure with your butter knife flat against the meat so that it spread thinly but doesn’t rip through.  Leave both ends of the bresaola slices without cheese on them.  Add a small handful of watercress onto the goat cheese and begin wrapping the bresaola by rolling from one side to the other—like rolling a cigarette.  Once rolled, press the edge down to seal the roll.  Begin again and roll until you are out of slices or of energy.  You can add a bit of salt and pepper on top if you like.  Serve room temperature.

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28 thoughts on “Watercress salad wrapped in chèvre and bresaola, with lavender and fennel pollen.

  1. That looks spectacular. But what really intrigues me is the lavender and fennel pollen chevre! I can’t get my brain around it and yet I want to taste it so badly! 🙂

  2. Oh I absolutely adore these! They look so pretty too and I love how everything is all wrapped up in a delicious little parcel. There is something about finger food too isn’t there? I could eat the whole plate I reckon. Gorgeous photos too.

  3. This looks delicious. I was also interested in the GK Chesterton ‘Grape Nuts’ quote off to the left. I’d no idea Grape Nuts was (were?) that old, but Wiki has them at 1897 and GK’s writing about them in 1905 (exported to England). So they are old. Really, really old. Older than the Ford or the airplane or some religions, in fact. I think you can like Grape Nuts AND caviar.

  4. Jeremy: Ha! I had no idea that Grape Nuts were (was?) that old. I have to admit though, I was a little conflicted about posting that quote – I found a Grape Nuts recipe that Euell Gibbons (Stalking the Wild Asparagus) was said to love and I’m planning on making it soon. But I figured I would start off my website’s food quotes (I want to pin up a different one every few days) with a mention of caviar.

    …maybe there is a principle in regular bowel function?

  5. My wife has been craving bresaola since we went to Italy last year. It’s proven itself to be impossible to find in our area…*sigh*. I love this recipe, it’s so much better sounding than the deli-ham-cream-cheese-wrapped-pickle things we often get as appetizers in my family (though I love them). Killer idea putting the salad inside, uber yummy. 🙂

  6. Blimey, talk about a recipe. How did this develop? It looks fabulous.

    As a twisted stroke of fate, I am actually curing my own grass fed bresaola in my garage at the moment. I think I will have to try this recipe in 27days when it has fully cured!

    1. Jonathan: It is very powerful, but the pollen goes really well with grass-fed—bresaola or any kind of meat really. I guess the fennel pollen is a little grassy itself…

  7. Could you give me a hint of where to even start to look for lavendar and fennel pollen chevre? We are not blessed with many gourmet food stores and our grocery selection is sparse.

  8. The one I normally buy is Purple Haze Chèvre from Cypress Grove (in California). I had been able to get it at Fresh Market, but the ones in our area are no longer carrying it, due to the economy. You can buy fennel pollen and food grade lavender at a number of different places online. I think you could add some of those to plain chèvre for a similar taste.

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