Carpaccio is a dish that consists of raw meat that is sliced very thinly. Giuseppe Cipriani created it in 1950 for the Countess Amalia Nani Mocenigo, whose doctors put her on a strict diet that prevented her from eating cooked meat. As a result of this diet, Cipriani, the founder of Harry’s Bar in Venice, decided to make a special dish for her that followed her doctors’ orders but still allowed her to eat meat. His idea was to take raw meat, slice it very thinly and dress it with a simple sauce. The meat by itself was a bit insipid but the sauce, made with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and shaved cheese, gave the dish a simple but satisfying flavor. He named the dish carpaccio after the painter Vittore Carpaccio, an artist who Cipriani greatly admired, because the vibrant color of the meat reminded him of those in Carpaccio’s paintings.
This simple dish has been enjoyed by people all over the world ever since. Today it is still one of the most popular dishes on the menu at Harry’s Bar. Carpaccio can be made with just about any type of meat or fish, as long as it is thinly sliced. The dressing can be altered to suit a variety of tastes. Although it is typically made with olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice, it can also be made with any combination of ingredients such as mayonnaise, capers, onions, balsamic vinegar or even truffle oil.
Carpaccio is an easy dish to prepare and it makes a great appetizer. Before slicing the meat, it is better to place it in the freezer for about 30 minutes to an hour until it is firm, but not frozen, making it easier to slice. Some people are a bit hesitant to try the dish because of the common fear that is associated with eating uncooked meat. Always practice safety precautions when preparing carpaccio; make sure that the meat is fresh and thoroughly disinfect your hands and all utensils and work surfaces that you use to prepare the meat before and after you use them.
No matter what ingredients you decide to use, carpaccio is a simple dish that is full of flavor. The recipe below is sure to be a big hit at your next dinner party.
By Dana Knowles
If you would like, you can also prepare this with a more traditional sauce using homemade mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, milk, salt and freshly ground white pepper.
1 lb. sirloin filet, thinly sliced
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 sprig marjoram for garnish (optional)
1. Arrange the filet slices on a lukewarm platter and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. 2. Top with the Parmigiano, then drizzle with the vinegar and truffle oil. Set aside to rest for 10 minutes. 3. Garnish with a sprig of marjoram, or your favorite herb, and serve immediately. Serves 4
Replace: balsamic vinegar with lemon juice
Replace: truffle oil with shaved truffles
A full-bodied red wine, such as Barolo