Carpaccio is a traditional Italian dish made from thinly sliced meat or fish which is served raw. The fish and meat are often beaten into thin sheets and eaten as an appetizer. The origin of the Carpaccio recipe can be traced back to the city of Venice. In modern parlance it is customary to refer to thin slices of uncooked food by the same name as the dish. This has mistakenly given rise to terms like the Carpaccio of Pineapples.
The name comes from the renowned painter Vittore Carpaccio. Originally the recipe included only thinly sliced beef topped with mayonnaise, mustard or lemon slices. The dish is not confined to beef alone now with raw slices of veal, lamb, Tuna and salmon being referred to as Carpaccio as well. People in the United Kingdom call the dish of cured loins of meat or fish with the same name which is usually eaten as a salad or antipasto and gets to be served with the traditional Italian pasta.
History of Carpaccio Recipe
The history of the dish can be traced back to the 1950 when it was invented and served to the countess Amalia Nani Mocenigo as she had been advised by the doctor to consume raw meat only. The first of the Carpaccios was served with a mustard based sauce at Harry’s bar located in Venice. The erstwhile proprietor of the restaurant, Giuseppe Cipriani, named the dish after the Italian painter Vittore Carpaccio as the colors of the dish matched his painting.
Ingredients and Popular Carpaccio Recipe
There are no standard ingredients mentioned in the recipe apart from the meat or fish. The slicing has to be done quite carefully though and an electric carving knife can cut the beef or lamb into paper thin slices. Pre cut slices are now available commercially too and the dish of Carpaccio is often prepared at home by using these slices. A distinct way of serving the dish made by following the modern Carpaccio recipe is to arrange arugula leaves on a plate and then lay out the beef on top of it. Garnishing or dressing is often done by drizzling the raw slices of meat with a bit of olive oil which is then seasoned with salt and pepper. A sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese on the top helps to make it alluring apart from enhancing the flavor of the dish.
The recipe cannot be varied too much as the dish is based on raw, uncooked food. The garnishing and seasonings are the only varieties that can set the dish apart from the rest. Consequently, the thin slices of raw meat have emerged completely smothered in sauces or with the minimal of seasoning making the dish taste unique each time. Some of the commonest ways of serving it are with:-
- Ginger, jalapenos and soy sauce.
- Mustard sauce.
- Cabbage kimchis.
- Olive oil and hard boiled eggs.
- Sea salt and rye croutons.
- Thyme, lemon juice and pepper.
- Fennel, garlic and grapefruit.
Variations Of Carpaccio
The variations are in the kind of meat used. The latest variation that has been popularized in the United States of America is the vegetable form containing thin slices of vegetables seasoned with herbs. Preparing a dish of raw ingredients requires expertise and the new innovations have become extremely popular as well. Beef or other kinds of red meat are now shunned for reasons of health with uncooked fish and vegetable slices replacing them gradually. Some of the most loved variations of the modern form are:-
- Zucchini- Slices of raw zucchini served with lemon zest, olive oil and dollops of ricotta.
- Scallops- Raw scallops with pickled ginger and dried cucumbers.
- Beetroot- Red beetroot slices with endives, olive oil and mounds of goat cheese.
- Salmon- Fresh, raw salmon with lime and olives.
- Figs- Derived from Spanish cuisine, it is served on lettuce leaves with honey, balsamic vinegar and kitchen salt.
- Lamb- Thinly sliced lambs served with an artichoke salad and wine vinegar.
Wine Pairings With Carpaccios
A glass of wine goes well with the raw food. However, the same wine does not taste good with different forms of Carpaccio. It is essential to know about the pairings as the raw fish and meat dishes vary widely in their taste which in turn calls for different kinds of wines to be paired with them. The wines that can be matched with the various forms of the dish are:-
- Beef Slices- Côtes de Castillon , Wine of Bordeaux, Champagne, Chablis and Lirac
- Tuna Slices- Pessac - Léognan, Mercurey, Pouilly fumé, Alsace Pinot Noir and Vernaccia di San Gimignano.
Health Benefits Of Carpaccios
The raw and lean meat is considered to be healthy with no harmful chemicals tainting the natural minerals and antioxidants. They are high on Vitamins A and C along with the beneficial folic acid. Sea food variety also contains omega-3 oils which remain unaltered.
- Carpaccio Magazine is a monthly online publication for photographers and artists.