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Are You Crazy For Carpaccio?
By Kim Steele
Carpaccio was served for the very first time at Harry's Bar in Venice in the the 1950's. To satisfy the needs of a comtess whose doctor had forbidden her to eat cooked meat, chef and owner Giuseppe Cipriani poured vinaigrette on paper thin slices of raw beef and named his creation after Vittore Carpaccio, a 15th century Viennese painter. The artist Carpaccio, who is most remembered for a series of paintings featuring Saint Ursula, was apparently fond of the color red. The chef looked at his dish of raw meat and saw the same red and came into existence.
This dish may have originated in Italy, but the French have taken the idea and ran with it. These days you will find many different recipes for in France, all of them featuring very thinly sliced food.
Here are three delightful French twists on the original carpaccio. When preparing them, please keep in mind the following points:
- Use only the very freshest ingredients. This is especially true for the duck carpaccio, where the meat is only "cooked" in lime juice.
- You must have a long and very sharp knife to prepare these. That's the only way you are going to get the nearly paper thin slices that characterize a carpaccio.
- Although some purists say it alters the taste, you can try freezing the meat about an hour before slicing it. This makes getting thin slices easier.
Carpaccio de magret de canard
- 1 large duck breast
- 1/2 pineapple, diced
- 1/2 cabbage, julienned
- 2 limes, juiced
- 1/4 cup walnut or hazelnut oil
- ground pepper
Cut the duck breast very thinly. Arrange it in a shallow dish with no overlapping pieces. Pour on the juice of one lime and 2 tablespoons
of oil. Place in refrigerator to marinate for 20 minutes. In a bowl mix the cabbage and pineapple with the rest of the lime juice and oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Arrange the duck with the salad on plates and serve immediately. Serves 4
Carpaccio de légumes au sésame
Vegetable with Sesame Dressing
- 1 firm tomato
- 1/2 yellow pepper
- 1/2 green pepper
- 2 large mushrooms
- 1/2 cucumber
- 1 small fennel bulb, two outer leaves removed
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 3 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds (optional)
- salt and pepper
Slice the tomato, peppers, mushrooms, cucumber and fennel as thinly as possible. Place the mushrooms in a salad bowl and sprinkle them with the lemon juice. Add the other vegetables and the sesame oil. Toss gently and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Arrange the salad on plates and sprinkle with sesame and cumin seeds.
Carpaccio du saumon
- 2 cucumbers, peeled and sliced as thinly as possible
- 8 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon, cut in thin strips
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon French mustard
- salt and pepper
Attractively arrange the cucumber slices on four salad plates. In a bowl, mix the sliced salmon with the lemon juice and dill. Prepare a vinaigrette with the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, seasoning with salt and pepper to your taste. Drizzle over cucumbers. Place the salmon on top of the cucumbers. Serve immediately or refrigerate for a few minutes. 4 servings.
Now that you know what you're having for an entree, stop by Easy French Food and have a look at some French Bistro Recipes for an easy main course. Easy French Food is written by Kim Steele, an enthusiastic home chef and apprentice food photographer living near Paris. Come join her and learn lots of fun information about French food and culture.