Carpaccio is a type of appetiser dish that originated in Italy. It is made from thinly sliced, raw meat or fish served with accoutrements. A traditional carpaccio was made from raw beef served with lemon, olive oil, white truffle, and parmesan, topped with capers or onions. Today, carpaccio is a popular dish worldwide, often made from raw fish or any variety of raw meat that has been flavoured with lemon juice or vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

With the popularity of vegan and vegetarian diets, carpaccio is also being modified by using vegetables. Vegetarian carpaccio can be made from thinly sliced root vegetables such as beetroots, carrots, turnips, radish, or jerusalem artichokes. Cheese can also be used to make a type of carpaccio.

History of carpaccio

The first carpaccio was served in 1950 by Giuseppe Cipriani of Harry’s Bar in Venice.

The inspiration for carpaccio was a Piedmont dish named carne cruda all’albese. Giuseppe Cipriani, who was a wealthy entrepreneur and owner of Harry’s Bar, made the dish for his friend, Countess Amalia Nani Mocenigo. Doctors had advised the Countess to consume a diet of raw meat and avoid fried or cooked meats. To aid with her diet, Giuseppe served Countess Amalia thin slices of raw meat topped with a sauce made from mayonnaise, mustard, and oil.  Needless to say, it was a hit.

The name ‘carpaccio’ was given to the meal in honour of the Venetian painter, Vittore Carpaccio. The painter was known for having red and white paintings that beat a similar colour palette to the dish of raw meat. He was exhibiting his paintings in Italy at the time and Giuseppe used his art as inspiration for the dish. The Italian Ministry for Cultural Affairs has declared Harry’s Bar a national landmark since 2001, thanks to its contribution of carpaccio to Italian cuisine.


How to prepare carpaccio

Beef is the most popular meat used to make carpaccio. The best cut to use is sirloin or tenderloin – the higher quality meat, the better tasting carpaccio you will make. When purchasing meat for carpaccio, it is a good idea to notify your butcher that you are buying it for that means. He will provide the best cut of meat available. Once you have the meat, the fat must all be removed. While carpaccio is about eating raw meat, some chefs still like to sear the sides of the meat before seasoning it.

Next, flavour is added with salt and pepper, freshly chopped herbs like parsley, coriander, or tarragon, and a splash of balsamic vinegar. The meat is wrapped in plastic and left to chill and marinate for at least 8 hours. You can then start slicing the meat. Because carpaccio is so thinly sliced, an electric meat slicer is the best method for slicing the meat. You can, however, use a sharp knife and attempt to slice it yourself. Colder meat is easier to slice. That said, you never want to cut frozen meat.

Finally, arrange the sliced meat on a platter and top it with capers, onions, olive oil, lemon juice, and a sprinkling of shaved parmesan. White truffle can be used in place of parmesan, providing a similar umami flavour. Carpaccio can also be served on a bed of leafy greens, such as watercress, endive, rocket, or radicchio. Rocket is the most prized green to accompany carpaccio as it adds a peppery kick to the flavour. Chives are also used in certain preparations.

What’s the difference between carpaccio and tartare?

Some people may be confused about the difference between carpaccio and steak tartare as both dishes are made from raw meat. However the preparation of each dish is quite different. One of the biggest differences between carpaccio and tartare is that carpaccio is made from thinly sliced beef tenderloin, while tartare is made from meat that has been pounded, minced, or chopped.

The two dishes are also served with different accompaniments and flavourings. Carpaccio is usually served with a small amount of vinaigrette that is typically made from lemon juice, salt, pepper, mustard, and parmesan. On the other hand, tartare is generally served with stronger flavours like raw egg yolk. Other flavours like capers, onions, or Worcestershire sauce are also typically mixed in with the meat itself.

Is carpaccio safe to eat?

Since it is made from raw meat, the safety of carpaccio is a controversial topic. Although it is an extremely popular dish enjoyed in restaurants all over the world, it cannot be deemed 100% safe to eat as people may have different reactions to the meat. The preparation of carpaccio, the cut of beef, and freshness of the meat that is being used will all affect how safe it is to eat. When carpaccio is made from fresh meat, and using just one cut of meat, it is safer to eat. This is because there is less chance of contamination.

That said, pregnant women, children, people with weakened immunities, and those who are at high risk of food poisoning are advised to avoid carpaccio. Vegetarian carpaccio is safe to consume by anyone.

What cut of beef is used to make carpaccio?

The most popular cuts of beef used to make carpaccio are the tenderloin, sirloin, or eye of top round roast (also used for bresaola). The most commonly used is beef tenderloin. Ideally, the beef cut used for carpaccio is one that is tender enough to eat raw and can easily be sliced paper thin. Some other cuts you can experiment with for making carpaccio is flatiron, ribeye, and oyster steak.

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