A simple delicious Italian antipasti!
There is an old story about the origins of carpaccio. Carpaccio was created in Venice, Italy and not New York City. Carpaccio is named after a famous Italian painter. It was first served by an Italian chef to a lady who was a regular customer at his restaurant. Expert food historians say that carpaccio originally was made with an Italian style complex mustard sauce. A few years later, the sauce for carpaccio was changed to be more like a sauce from the Venice region. A simple sauce of lemon juice and virgin olive oil has been the traditional sauce for carpaccio ever since.
Carpaccio is always served with fragrant peppery greens like arugula or watercress. Shaved parmesan cheese always is sprinkled on the carpaccio. A very light sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper over the meat is the only seasoning.
You would think that beef tenderloin would be the choice cut of beef for carpaccio. Tenderloin has much too bland of a flavor when it is served raw. The best cut of beef and the original cut of beef for carpaccio is the eye of the round. The eye of the round is also referred to as the mock tenderloin. Eye of round has a rich tasty beef flavor when served raw. Eye of round must be sliced paper thin for carpaccio. If the eye of round is sliced too thick, then the eye of round slices will be unpleasantly chewy.
Choose a nice fresh small section of eye of round at a butcher shop.
You will need a razor sharp chef knife or a good electric meat slicer to cut paper thin slices. If your knife skills are not adept, then ask the butcher to cut the eye of round into paper thin slices for carpaccio. Be sure that the butcher separates the paper thin slices across a piece of parchment paper, or the slices of beef will stick to each other. Good butchers do enjoy customer requests!
To slice the eye of round paper thin, the meat must be partially frozen. Freeze the meat, till it becomes very firm, but not solid like ice.
Before slicing, trim off all of the excess fat and silver floss from the eye of round. When you slice partially frozen meat with a chef knife, do not move the the blade in a sawing motion. Press the blade firmly down on the partially frozen meat and rock the knife blade slowly back and forth and watch the paper thin slice of beef curl off of the blade.
Each slice of beef should be plated immediately after it has been sliced.
Overlap the beef slices on the plate.
Place a small mound of watercress on the plate.
Lightly season the meat with sea salt and black pepper.
Drizzle some lemon juice and virgin olive oil over the meat and watercress.
Garnish with a lemon slice curl.
Sprinkle a little bit of shaved parmigiana cheese over the meat.
The flavors of carpaccio are not complicated at all. The peppery watercress is very nice with the beef's flavor. Carpaccio is a simple, delicious light meal or antipasti. Yum! Ciao Baby! ... Shawna