I like carpaccio. My wife and Valentine, Michele, likes carpaccio. So for us, a heart-shaped version of this classic Italian beef salad seems nothing short of fabulous. Of course, I do understand that this isn’t for everyone. If you don’t like, or more likely, are afraid of rare meat, I don’t imagine you’ll be giving this a try.
That’s perfectly fine, and we’re all too busy to bother trying to convert you over to the red team. However, for people that do enjoy this classic dish, and realize that properly handled, high-quality beef is no more dangerous to eat raw than sushi, or a spinach salad, I think this would make for a creative, and visually arresting start to their Valentine’s Day dinner menu.
While this preparation is fairly classic, I do like to keep my beef a little bit thicker than is traditionally done. Most carpaccios are pounded very, very thin, but if you’re using a really nice piece of beef tenderloin, why smash it so flat? Since it’s naturally tender and buttery, I like it to keep a little bit of its texture, instead of being mashed too thin.
Another tip is to season the meat generously. The salt is very important here, almost as much as some kind of bracing salad tossed with a sharp, acidic dressing. By the way, just because I went with arugula and traditional lemon mustard dressing, doesn’t mean you can’t take this in other exotic directions.
I’ve enjoyed some great renditions over the years, including several which incorporated Asian ingredients into the mix. As usual, I’d love to hear about (and maybe see?) how you adapt this carpaccio to your own personal tastes. Enjoy!
Ingredients for 2 portions:
4-6 oz freshly trimmed, high-quality, beef tenderloin, sliced thin
1 cup baby arugula leaves
1 oz shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tsp capers
For the dressing:
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of cayenne