Braciole, a mainstay at Italian street fairs, is traditionally made with pounded cutlets of top round or veal. In some parts of Italy, they are simply grilled and topped with a flavorful sauce, while in others the cutlets are rolled around a savory filling.
In this version, excerpted from Mario Batali Italian Grill, a butterflied beef tenderloin is filled with a mixture of fresh herbs, best-quality salami, fontina, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. The resulting "pinwheels" make a for a stunning presentation perfect for entertaining on Memorial Day or any day this summer.
Beef Braciole "Pinwheel-Style"
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 4 ounces thinly sliced salami, cut into 1/4-inch-wide matchsticks
- 8 ounces Italian Fontina, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano- Reggiano
- 1/2 cup toasted bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- One 10-inch-long beef tenderloin roast cut from the heart of the tenderloin (2 1/2 to 3 pounds), butterflied
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a medium bowl, combine the garlic, scallions, parsley, salami, Fontina, Parmigiano, and bread crumbs and mix well. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil and mix well with your hands or a spoon. Set aside.
Cut six 15-inch-long pieces of kitchen twine. Open out the beef; season on both sides with salt and pepper, and place it on a work surface so a long side is toward you. Spread the bread crumb mixture evenly over the beef, leaving a 1/2-inch border along the side farthest from you; press and gently pack the stuffing mixture onto the beef to keep it in place (you may have a little stuffing left over—it makes a great panini filling). Starting from the side nearest you, roll up the meat like a jelly roll, pressing any stuffing that falls out of the ends back into the roll, and tie tightly with the twine, spacing the ties evenly (it's easier if you have a friend to tie the beef while you hold the roll together). Wrap tightly in plastic wrap to make a compact roll, and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or as long as overnight.
Preheat a gas grill or prepare a fire in a charcoal grill.
Carefully unwrap the beef roll and, using a very sharp knife, cut it between the ties into six thick pinwheels. Brush gently on both sides with the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Gently lay the pinwheels on the hottest part of the grill and cook, unmoved, for 5 to 7 minutes. Using a spatula, carefully turn each pinwheel over and cook for about 4 minutes longer for medium-rare. (Don't be alarmed if some of the cheese in the stuffing starts to melt and char on the grill, making kind of a savory Florentine-cookie-like thing; but if you find it charring too much, move the pinwheels to a slightly cooler part of the grill.) Transfer to a platter and serve.
Note: To butterfly the beef, simply use a sharp knife to cut it horizontally almost but not all the way in half, starting from one of the long sides, so you can open it out like a book.