Keto Bresaola Cups with Mascarpone & Walnuts. The perfect appetiser or party food. 1g carbs each.
This is an impressive starter that takes no time at all. I call it my lazy hors d’oeuvre because it requires zero effort. Yeah, I know you could serve your guests some olives with feta cheese, or ham slices filled with cream cheese and rolled up to look pretty. See what I did there? 2 bonus ideas for you 😉 . But if you’re looking for the wow factor, or something different yet easy, my Keto Bresaola Cups with Mascarpone & Walnuts are just the ticket.
What is bresaola?
You may well be familiar with this delicate charcuterie. But I feel I ought to explain a little for those who have yet to taste this. The correct pronunciation is bre-zah-olah. It is an Italian meat from the Valtellina region that has been assigned a PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) certificate. Do check when you buy it, and avoid getting an inferior, unregulated product.
To make bresaola, lean beef cuts are salt cured and air dried for months. The best bresaola comes from the loin and it has the specification Punta d’Anca. You generally serve it, paper thin, as an antipasto. It’s tender, slightly leathery, with a flavour that’s both salty and sweet. The curing process gives this raw meat a rich dark red colour, but it shouldn’t be confused with carpaccio, which is thinly sliced, fresh raw meat.
In Italy you can buy bresaola pre-packaged or sliced on the spot from the fresh produce counter. In Britain, it used to be unheard of until fairly recently, but now you can find it easily in most supermarkets, or you can buy it from Italian delicatessens.
If you’ve never tried it, I highly recommend you give it a try. Traditionally, Italians eat it together with rocket leaves and Parmesan cheese shavings, all drizzled with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. A nice and easy low carb starter – bonus idea #3 😉
Keto Bresaola Cups with Mascarpone & Walnuts Recipe
Technically, there is no cooking involved. However, in order to create the ‘ cups’ you need to line muffin moulds with bresaola slices and ‘bake’ for 5 minutes. Then you let the bresaola cups cool down and they magically stiffen into shape. Phew! That’s the difficult part over. The rest is a breeze.
Walnuts are amazing and joyfully low carb. And I bet you didn’t know that they are the only nut to contain omega 3 fatty acids! If you can get them, I highly recommend that you buy walnuts in their kernels. They are natural and much tastier than de-shelled, packaged ones.
Same goes for Parmesan cheese. I cannot stress enough how much nicer Parmesan is when it’s just been grated, as opposed to the packaged, ready to use stuff. If possible, buy Parmigiano Reggiano. Again, it’s a product of Protected Designation of Origin by European Standards. It is much more flavourful than other varieties, like Padano. So even though it costs more, you need less quantity in your recipes. And be careful of counterfeit ‘parmesan’ sold in the US.
With regards to the mint, I initially only used it to decorate the cups and to add a bit of colour to the photos. But then I discovered that the mint flavour (I have a lovely peppermint variety that is literally taking over my garden) paired really well with the walnut cream and saltiness of the bresaola. And so it became a ‘must’ ingredient. Which is a great thing, as this aromatic rambler is full of health benefits. You can omit it, of course, if you’re not a mint lover.
I hope you enjoy my Keto Bresaola Cups with Mascarpone & Walnuts!
- Servings: 6
- Calories: 165
- Fat: 15g
- Net Carbs: 1g
- Protein: 7.3g
- 8 whole walnuts (about 45g)
- 100g mascarpone
- 100g Bresaola (12 slices)
- pinch of fine himalayan pink salt
- 1 heaped tsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I use Parmigiano Reggiano)
- 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive (EVO) Oil
- a few mint leaves
- pre-heat oven to 200C static.
- line 6 muffin moulds (preferably silicone) with 2 bresaola slices each.
- bake for 5 minutes, then remove from oven and set aside for the cups to cool down in their moulds.
- de-shell walnuts, break them into halves and discard the hard skin.
- place 10 walnut halves in a mini food processor or coffee grinder and pulse until grainy; add EVO oil, Parmesan and salt and continue to pulse until you have a smooth(ish) paste.
- scoop walnut paste into a small glass bowl, and incorporate mascarpone.
- using two teaspoons, scoop the mixture and fill each bresaola cup equally.
- decorate with remaining walnut halves and mint leaves.
You can make this dish a few hours in advance, without final assembly. Just leave the bresaola cups at room temperature and keep the mascarpone-walnut cream covered with cling film and refrigerated.