Equipment for cooking sous-vide does not come cheap. But after making the initial investment, you can save money by buying cheaper cuts of meat without anyone being able to tell the difference. To put this theory into practice, I made Rosa di Parma using beef brisket instead of beef tenderloin. Rosa di Parma is a gourmet dish that is great for impressing your guests at a dinner party. It is a roulade of beef with prosciutto, parmigiano, garlic, and rosemary. It has great flavor, tender beef, and looks nice on the plate.
The one drawback of this dish is that beef tenderloin is expensive. Here in the Netherlands the price of brisket (“puntborst”) is only about a quarter of the price of beef tenderloin (“ossenhaas”). Apart from a longer cooking time (48 hours at 57C/135F), the preparation is identical to a preparation with beef tenderloin. The main point is that with sous-vide you can make Rosa di Parma either with beef tenderloin or brisket, whereas without sous-vide you can’t make Rosa di Parma from a brisket.
I did not do a side by side comparison, but I’ve made Rosa di Parma from beef tenderloin on a regular basis for years, so I remember quite well what it is like. And I must say that the brisket version is very similar to the tenderloin version. The main difference is that you can cook the tenderloin more to the rare side of medium rare, as the minimum temperature to get tender brisket is at 57C/135F rather than 55C/131F for the tenderloin.
600 grams (1.3 lbs) beef brisket, trimmed, butterflied, and pounded to 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) thickness
enough prosciutto di parma to cover the butterflied brisket (about 50 grams/2 oz)
freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
1 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
80 ml (1/3 cup) marsala
80 ml (1/3 cup) red wine
clarified butter (or olive oil)
1 tsp cornstarch
Secure with kitchen string.
Brown the roulade quickly in a very hot frying pan with some clarified butter or olive oil. Clarified butter gives better browning without the splashing. The meat is already cooked through, so only cook it very briefly to give it some color and flavor.
As with the regular Rosa di Parma, this is great with Barolo or other high-end Italian reds such as Brunello.