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Something Different 51

The Scenario:

Need a classy yet manly appetizer to greet some great friends with? Man have I got the thing for you. You want to make carpaccio. Fancy Italian name, I know, but it's basically just nearly raw beef sliced very thin. There's an art to making this dish and when done just right it can look amazing and really be something delicious and special. It isn't for the most casual gatherings, but when you need to impress a real meat eater, this is the thing.

Carpaccio was named after an Italian painter whose paintings always contained brilliant red color, much like the brilliant red color of the meat it's made of. Good quality tenderloin will really give you the color and light marbling you want, and if you have a butcher you can get the thin round strip that's usually cut off of the tenderloin to use for this. The red and green and yellow provide some bright colors, and the barely cooked beef is incredibly juicy and flavorful due to the lightly seared spices on the outside and the juicy steak inside. The thin slices make it almost melt in your mouth. This is definitely an impressive and fun dish, though it takes a bit of time and focus to really master it.


1 strip of good quality steak, about 10-12 ounces, and 1 -2 inches wide.

3-4 tablespoons Montreal steak seasoning or other steak rub

About 1-2 cups leafy greens such as baby spinach or mesclun

¼ cup Finely shredded Parmesan for garnish

2 tbsp Chopped parsley for garnish

4 lemon slices for garnish

Optional extras:

Salad dressing such as Caesar or balsamic vinaigrette

The key ingredient here is a long slab of meat that can be cut into small medallions. Too thick and it will be harder to cut, too thin and you won’t get enough out of it. Your ideal piece is one that almost fits in between your thumb and forefinger when they’re curled to make a circle. A bit bigger than that won’t hurt either. It should be real quality meat, such as the unused portion of tenderloin. Heat a large skillet on medium high heat. You shouldn’t need to apply oil, but if your pan is prone to sticking you can do so. Roll this steak around in the seasoning to coat. You can use your own mix if you don’t like Montreal.

How To Do It:

1. Lay your steak down in the pan and allow it to color on one side.

2. Roll it over after a minute or so or once desired color is achieved over the entire steak except the ends. This process should not take long at all because you’re not cooking the steak, just searing the outsides.

3. Cut the heat on the pan and let your steak cool on a plate or cutting board for 5-10 minutes.

4. Once it’s cool to the touch, wrap the steak in plastic wrap firmly and set it in the freezer for about 1 hour. You don’t need it frozen solid, but it should stiffen so that it will be easier to slice thin. You can also just leave the steak in your fridge for a few days so the cooking part can be done in advance, and the beef sliced whenever it’s convenient.

5. When it’s time to plate, mound a round serving platter with your greens, making an effort to pile them up in a pyramid rather than spread them out.

6. Next, unwrap the beef and set on a cutting board. Using your sharpest knife, start on one end and make thin slices, as thin as you can get them. Keep going until the entire loin is sliced.

7. At that point arrange the slices on the mound of greens, covering from top to bottom. You can garnish with the Parmesan and lemon wedges, or add some dressing, but just a bit of lemon juice is also very nice. Make sure to serve chilled and eat promptly before this dish dries out or gets too warm.

And there you have it, a really sophisticated manly dish. Serve it with some nice vodka or a Bloody Mary, and if you try it, give me a shout out here and let me know how it turned out!

I've been cooking for most of my life, from helping my Nonna cook while visiting her in the North of Italy to my apprenticeship with Chef Lucas Woodruff. My background as a chef is strongly in good, casual Southern and Italian cuisine and new, creative favorites. I'm all about rich, vibrant flavors and how to combine them. I'm also the last chef you'll ever see doing any of this fad diet nonsense, so if you're looking for the kettlegenic, cave man diet, or some gluten free deal, look elsewhere. Just good, unpretentious food for hungry people here.

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