02 Oct Please The Palate Pick of the Week: Battuta di Fassona, a typical appetizer in Piemonte, Italy made from Fassona beef
Over the past two weeks in Piemonte, there is one dish that was on every single menu at every restaurant in which I dined. It is the most typical appetizer you will find when in Piemonte, Italy but will not find it anywhere else. The dish is Battuta di Fassona. It is a beef tartare but once you have tried one from Fassone cows, you may never be able to eat another beef tartare again. That is why Battuta di Fassona is the Please The Palate pick of the week.
The Fassona is a breed of cow that is found in Piemonte, Italy and it is bred in strict compliance with labeling regulations. An indigenous breed to the region, all the cattle are born and raised in Italy, 97% of which are in Piemonte, primarily in the provinces of Cuneo, Turin, and Asti. The cows maintain a diet of mountain pasture, as well as fodder and grains.
The meat of Piedmontese Fassona is very lean, of which some cuts have less than 2% fat. In fact, some studies have shown that the meat of the Fassona cow is closest to fish for the ratio between the beneficial unsaturated fatty acids and saturated fats. Fassona beef is a super healthy red meat to eat.
Fassona meat is lean and tender. This tenderness is not due to fat content but rather to the “fragility” and structure of the connective tissue that holds the muscles together. And to best enjoy this meat is to consume it raw.
The traditional way to prepare the meat in Piemonte is to mince it with a knife and then simply top with olive oil and shaved Parmesan, or even shaved truffles. But the key is simplicity. It can also be served as carpaccio with olive oil and Parmesan cheese.
The delicacy and tenderness is captivating and I enjoyed Battuta di Fassona multiple times over the two weeks. If you have been to Piemonte, you have likely tried Fassona and know how delicious it is. If you have not had it yet, put Piemonte as a destination on the top of your list and seek it out when you are there. It is not hard to find as Fassona is served in almost every restaurant.