Carpaccio, what it is, origin and how to prepare it

Thin slices of raw meat or fish are the key to a carpaccio of which there are many varieties. / PHOTOLY

The shelf

You can do the version your way and sample this popular dish from Italian cuisine

Italian cuisine does not live only on pizza and pasta. Today we come to claim carpaccio as one of the not so popular dishes of Italian cuisine, but equally tasty, as well as light, healthy and adaptable to the needs and tastes of each diner. Making homemade carpaccio is much better than buying it, because the exoticism of this product and the peak moment it occupies at the moment in the gastronomic market does not make it an exactly cheap product.

What is carpaccio?

For those who don’t know what it is,
carpaccio is the name given to a dish of meat or fish, presented raw and cut into thin slices, and topped with various toppings. The original formula of this dish born in the 1930s includes beef or veal, seasoned with oil and lemon juice and accompanied by pepper and parmesan flakes. However, over time other versions of meat have emerged (foal, ostrich, otter …) and also fish and crustaceans, being common to find carpaccio of varieties such as salmon, cod, shrimp, octopus or scallops.

Carpaccio, a recipe with artistic origins in Venice

Carpaccio is a recipe that originates in Venice and is also linked to art. The original carpaccio has always been made of meat, preferably of beef and good, because it is eaten raw. The first time it was served in Italy, precisely in the “Harry’s Bar” establishment in Venice. It was an exclusive recipe that had a lot of fame. Suffice it to say that the regular customers of Giuseppe Cipriani, the owner of the restaurant, were characters such as Truman Capote, Peggy Guggenheim, Barbara Hutton, Marconi, Hemingway, Scott Fitgerald …

“Harry’s Bar” is still open next to Piazza San Marco and is run by the descendants of the first owner. If Venice is expensive, we can think about what the bar is like. It is said that a good customer of “Harry’s Bar” told Cipriani that her doctor had advised her to eat raw meat. The easy thing would have been to prepare a “steak tartare”, but Don Giuseppe prepared a dish with thin slices of beef tenderloin accompanied by a sauce of mayonnaise and parmesan. The customer, Countess Amalia Nanni Mocenigo, who must have been short of red blood cells, loved the dish and asked what it was called. Giuseppe Cipriani, a great admirer of Italian Renaissance painting, recalled that in those days there was an exhibition of Vittore Carpaccio, who used a lot of red and yellow, giving him that name.

How to prepare carpaccio

Although meat or fish carpaccio is a very elegant dish, the truth is that it is a tremendously easy recipe to prepare, as it is served raw. The key to a good and tasty carpaccio lies, on the one hand, in the subtlety of the cut, it being essential that the slices are very thin, almost transparent. To do this, it is recommended to ask the butcher or fishmonger to cut it. The freshness of the genus is essential, since we are going to eat it raw, so it is convenient to buy top quality and guaranteed meat, and do it on the day of its consumption.

Vegetarians and vegans can enjoy adapted but equally delicious carpaccio, opting for other types of ingredients

Getting a perfect cut has a trick. The piece should be placed in the freezer. In this way, when it is already smooth, without being like a stone, it is used to obtain fillets. This is the critical moment of preparation, since the slices must be very thin, so it is also good to have a specific sharp knife for the product we are going to prepare.

On the other hand, it will be relevant for the final success to accompany this main raw material with a good seasoning and seasoning. EVOO, lemon juice and seasoning is the safe formula, the one that never fails, but you can let your imagination run wild and introduce other ingredients (such as lettuce sprouts, cheese flakes, pickles and nuts) and condiments (various types of vinegar, soy sauce, citrus juices …).

How to serve a carpaccio

When it comes to tackling, two things have to be taken into account. The first is the marinating of the meat. The traditional carpaccio was seasoned only with lemon juice, although today there are several versions to choose from, such as mustard, normal or flavored oil, vinegar, chives, salt or other condiments, such as spices.

As for its arrangement on the plate, whether it is a home-made or purchased carpaccio, it is usually arranged in the shape of a fan, standing upright. Or, failing that, if the structure falls apart, it can be positioned like the classic cold cuts platter.

Carpaccio, also for vegetarians and vegans!

Vegetable carpaccio will make crudité lovers go crazy. And it is that this way of eating raw vegetables can give a 180 degree turn to the way we have been eating raw vegetables until now. Fun and different, the vegetable carpaccio gives us the opportunity to surprise with a fresh and healthy first course, with which to whet your appetite this summer. Furthermore, its preparation has no mystery. The truth is that traditionally the term carpaccio has been used to indicate a cooking technique based on raw meat or fish, but there are more and more versions without proteins that are gaining ground among lovers of experimental cuisine, such as carpaccio. of vegetables or fruit carpaccio. Preparing a vegetable carpaccio is very simple. The first thing is to choose the vegetables to be included in the carpaccio, which can be zucchini, mushrooms, carrots or tomatoes, aubergines or cucumbers. If you want to include vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower, the preparation process involves steaming or boiling the pieces, as raw they aren’t particularly tasty. And once chosen, they should be cleaned well. This step is very important as the vegetables will be eaten raw, so any possible impurities must be removed. Although an alternative, in case we do not completely trust the dish, is to pass the vegetables already rolled on the grill to give them a golden touch.