Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine’s Day Carpaccio – A Meat Heart for Your Sweetheart!

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

24 comments:

Scott R. said...

Awesome! Been a huge fan of this dish for years, but never thought to make it. This dish just got added to my valentine menu tomorrow. Thanks CJ!

- Scott

truthspew said...

Looks like it'd be good! I'll have to try it out.

Best raw fish I ever had, was Salmon Don. The salmon is sliced super thin and layered over the seasoned rice. Yum!

Food Junkie said...

Yum. Well worth trying. For those that are challenged with a knife or don't own a good one (shame!) that self same butcher will likely also be willing to slice the meat for you which is another good reason not to buy from the back of Tony's Camaro.

Yellow Starkey said...

Woah now, that's a nice looking knife. Google was no help with "kitchen knife mountain logo" so would you mind telling me who makes it? Thanks!

Morgan said...

What if Tony's got a bitchin' Camaro? It might be hard to say no! ;)


Looks great as always, Chef! I'll be giving this a try in the near future.

Jill Mant~a SaucyCook said...

I love carpaccio and your heart looks gorgeous. Unfortunately my valentine would not concur with me so I was wondering if you could just fedex me a bite? Happy V Day to you and Michelle.

Monica said...

Will try that when the weather warms up.

Chef John said...

Warmer weather? Can't you just turn up the heat? ;)

Anonymous said...

Isn't it unsafe to eat raw meat?

Chef John said...

It can be, but doesn't have to.

Mary F said...

Chef john. I don't like raw beef and my valentine doesn't know i follow him. can i use chicken?

Pyrofish said...

One trick if your knife skills aren't great, is to put the fillet in the freezer for 10 minutes (no more). It'll firm up a touch and be a little easier to slice thin.

My favorite knife for this type of slicing is what I call my roast knife. It's long, has the cullens, and is very thin. Since it's not meant for chopping, it can have a seriously slender edge and be razor sharp. I got mine at a kitchen shop for $30, made by Dexter Russel brand, which are the simple white handled knives you see in restaurants all the time. I bought it to use for Tuna sashimi, but it comes in handy for so much more. Of course, any good sharp knife will do :-)

I really like your dressing for this. I think I'll give it a try tonight!

Pyrofish said...

The dangers of raw meat, btw, come from the exterior of the beef. Every time you expose a side to air in an unclean environment, you take the chance of contaminating it. Ground meat is worse, because what was outside, is now all throughout the ground meat.

That said, if the meat is coming from a good butcher, they are cutting the meat from primals. The primal has very little exposed surface area compared to your steak, and much of it is trimmed away as silver skin or fat. This is especially true of the beef tenderloin, which is handled with the most care. The conditions a quality butcher cuts under are just as, or far more, cleanly than a meat packer. If you ever trimmed your own beef tenderloin, you'd see, most of the exterior is trimmed away. So the interior of the meat, is all good and clean as long as you are good and clean in your kitchen! :-)

Think about the meat recalls related to beef. Ground meat is generally the culprit, and it's generally ground meat that came form a processing plant, not a clean butcher.

Yay for rare/raw tenderloin!

Marion D. said...

Would it be sacrilegious to partially freeze it, slice with a meat slicer and then continue with recipe?

Anonymous said...

Is this the same "Mary F" that commented "also i don't like chicken or hot sauce, what else can i used?" on the Buffalo Chicken Dip video?

Chef John said...

you could, but why bother?

Chef John said...

btw, the knife was New West

Kir said...

Actually, making in with poultry could be dangerous. I know in Japan they have raw chicken dish called Torisashi. But It's just very hard to find appropriate quality chicken versus beef

Hilah said...

God bless you for your use of rhyme. Also, the carpaccio looks perfecto. (That's Italian for "perfect". I'm pretty sure.)
Hope y'all had a great Valentine's!

Rita said...

oh, yeah! carpaccio is always good. a bit of balsamico and olive oil and a good bottle of red - heaven!

if you haven't, yet - you have to try a good raw sausage, served cold. if you already have - you know that's another good antipasto.

poppylove said...

Where do you get your meat?

poppylove said...

Where do you get your meat? Where would you recommend in the East Bay

Chef John said...

i like berkeley bowl and The Local Butcher, also berkeley

VEL said...

Love it - great recipe!!!