In 1950, a countess named Amelia Nani Moncenigo visited the famous Harry's Bar in Venice. Having been advised by her doctor that she should avoid cooked meat, she asked the chef at Harry's to come up with something she could eat.
The chef came up with the dish which essentially was very finely shaved red beef. The dish was named Carpaccio by the owner of Harry's, because the colors of the dish reminded him of paintings by the Venetian painter Vittore Carpaccio. Carpaccio was the most celebrated Venetian artist of 15th century and he was particularly renowned for his vivid use of colors, particularly reds.
Today, Carpaccio is a very popular modern Italian appetizer that can double as a light meal. Its main components are thinly sliced, impeccable, fresh, raw beef dressed with olive oil, lemon, fresh arugula, and thinly shaved parmigiano, which really ramp up the beef flavor. The classic meat for Carpaccio is beef and the preferred cut is tenderloin.
Prime Beef Carpaccio
At Traditions on the Beach we use an electric slicer. When making this dish at home you can slice the meat thin and then pound out between two sheets of plastic wrap with a meat tenderizer or you can use any heavy, flat object such as a small frying pan. Carpaccio can be prepared ahead of time and left covered in the fridge for a day.
Recipe courtesy of Chef Aziz of Traditions on the Beach, 3111 West Gulf Drive, in the historic Island Inn. For more information or to make a reservation call (239) 472-4559 or visit www.TraditionsOnTheBeach.com.
Prime Beef Carpaccio
8 to 10 ounces beef tenderloin
2 ounces olive oil
4 ounces shaved parmigiano
4 handfuls arugula
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 lemon wedges
Wrap the tenderloin in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for two hours.
After two hours, unwrap the tenderloin and slice the beef into approximately 1/8- to 1/4-inch pieces.
Lay out sheets of plastic wrap and place each slice on the plastic. Top with another piece of plastic and gently pound the meat with a mallet until paper thin.
Repeat until the meat is sliced and pounded.
Divide the meat evenly among four chilled plates, drizzle with olive oil, ground fresh black pepper, top with shaved parmigiano and serve with arugula and lemon wedge.