‘Don’t be put off by raw meat – one taste and you’ll never look back’
A CARPACCIO is a dish with Italian origins. Typically, it’s made up of raw meat, fish, or even vegetables, very thinly sliced and delicately prepared. A carpaccio makes a wonderful lunch, starter or light summer supper.
I really enjoy serving these dishes as sharing plates if we have guests round in summer time. The beauty of them is they don’t require any cooking time, although they do need to be prepared in advance. You can serve some of the most beautiful food if you take time and attention not only with the preparation, but with the presentation too.
Most of you will have heard of a beef carpaccio, the classic dish from the Piedmont region of Italy. It’s made up of extremely thin slices of beef, marinated with lemon, olive oil and often shavings of white truffle or Parmesan cheese, and topped with fresh green rocket – all very characteristic Italian flavours.
The key to making the perfect carpaccio is all in the meat. You need to make sure it’s as fresh as can be, and the best cut to use is usually the fillet, so you get the most flavour. Don’t be put off by the thought of raw meat in this dish. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll never look back.
Scotch beef is some of the best in the world. I would recommend you spend a little more on seeking the highest quality you can, because you won’t need a lot – just a couple of thin slices per person.
If beef fillet is out of your price range, you could ask your butcher for a cylindrical, single muscle of either rump or topside – just tell them it’s for a carpaccio and any good butcher will be able to advise you.
Creating carpaccios from fresh, seasonal seafood can also be delicious. Some of my favourite carpaccios can be made from octopus, halibut and salmon, all of which we serve at the restaurant when they are in season.
The recipe for salmon carpaccio is a wonderful way to enjoy this king of fish. It’s a simple dish that looks vibrant and fresh on the plate and lets the flavours and textures speak for themselves.
400g high quality salmon
extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp capers
small bunch wild herbs
radish and onion, chopped
Before preparing the fish, place your chopping board in the freezer for an hour. The board will keep the salmon as cold as possible, making it easier to handle.
Slice your salmon thinly off the skin, removing the blood line, and place directly on to the plate – otherwise you will find the fish difficult to manoeuvre afterwards. Rub gently with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle with capers and garnish with wild herbs, a little radish and onion, before serving with half a lemon.
400g fillet of beef
50g Parmesan shavings
salt & pepper for seasoning
Clean the fillet and remove any sinew. Roll the fillet tightly in cling film, pulling it until it is as tight and round as possible. Place it in the freezer and leave for one day. After removing the meat from the freezer, carefully pull back the cling film. Place the meat on a slicer and cut it into thin strips. It is important to place the slices directly on to the plate.
Season with olive oil, salt and pepper before garnishing with the rocket and Parmesan shavings.