Carpaccio is an Italian appetizer that’s made of paper thin sliced meat or fish served raw and dressed with a very good olive oil and sometimes a sauce made with wine vinegar or lemon juice and a sprinkle of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sometimes the dish is topped with shaved white truffles or parmesan cheese or served, as the original was, with a creamy lemon aioli. This Italian delicacy is a traditional dish, even though it’s a mere 70 years old, a youngster when compared to other traditional Italian foods.
It All Started at Harry’s Bar
The creation of this eye-appealing delight has quite the interesting back story. In the 1950s the legendary Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy had already become the favorite establishment of the movers and shakers of the day. Along with writers, artists, nobility and aristocracy you could find movie stars, kings of commerce, sports legends and just about anybody who was somebody. Harry’s treated everyone with special attention, courtesy of Guiseppe Cipriani, chef extraordinaire.
Creation of A Masterpiece
In addition to the Bellini cocktail Cipriani introduced the delectable dish, carpaccio to his patrons. Ever the hospitable host Cipriani created carpaccio as a special dish for one of his favorite guests, Countess Amalia Nani Mocenigo, whose physician forbade eating cooked meats of any kind. And a star was born!
In short order the dish made it to the menu where it remains a much-loved and delicious mainstay of the famous Harry’s Bar. The original carpaccio was made with tender thinly sliced tenderloin of beef dressed with a bit of a mayonnaise type sauce, but today you can find such takes on the original as tuna carpaccio, or carpaccio made with venison, fish and veal.
You may wonder how this acclaimed appetizer got its name. The deep red color of the thinly sliced tender steak reminded Chef of his favorite artist Vittore Carpaccio. The artist frequently incorporated scarlet hues into his creations so it seemed fitting that Chef Cipriani reference the artists style with his like-colored creation.
Today the dish is very popular in many other fine restaurants throughout the world.
When making carpaccio the chef slices the meat against the grain using a commercial meat slicer. It is sliced so thin it’s nearly transparent. A Lean and Luscious Legacy
Although Guiseppi Cipriani passed away in 1980 his legend and legacy live on through his son Arrigo (Harry) who has made the Cipriani dynasty as it is today. And at the heart of it all? Carpaccio!