OK, after more than 6 months of procrastinating on the second part of a New Year's Eve post, I'm taking a simpler route and only presenting the best thing on the menu, which was the Beef Carpaccio.
Basically, beef carpaccio is a hunk of beef tenderloin, the cut of meat that filet mignon is cut from, quickly seared and pounded flat to an almost paper-like thickness (or thinness, I guess?).
Now, as tasty as a simple piece of high quality beef, it needs a bit of a tangy and vegetable counterpoint. Almost every version of the recipe that I've seen includes a salad of some kind or another, but the most prominent pairing I could find was arugula, so I used that and tried to put together a good dressing that would elevate the beefy goodness.
Truth is, you can't really beat the flavours of lemon and garlic in a dressing, especially when you're knee-deep in the cuisines of the Mediterranean that so prominently feature them.
Beef Carpaccio w. Arugula and Lemon-Garlic Dressing
- 1 lb. beef tenderloin
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp. olive oil (as high quality as possible)
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- juice of half a lemon
- pinch dried basil
- pinch dried oregano (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups arugula, washed and dried
- Remove meat from the fridge at least an hour before cooking. Rub meat with 1 tbsp olive oil and salt, pepper and fennel seeds and let sit.
- Mix dressing ingredients with a whisk and refrigerate.
- Once your meat is ready to be cooked, heat a frying pan on medium-high/high heat and heat the other 1 tbsp of oil until very hot.
- Sear meat on high heat until you get a good crust on all sides of the meat, reduce heat as needed to prevent oil from smoking. Expect the meat to be very rare, nearly raw in the middle; don't worry, it's supposed to be like that.
- Remove from heat and set to rest for at least 10 minutes.
- Now that your meat is seared, that's when the knife skills come into play. Using a sharp knife, cut meat against the grain as thinly as possible.
- Place slices of meat on cutting board and pound with a meat hammer until paper thin. Don't go crazy or you'll tear the beef to shreds.
- Arrange slices of beef in a circle on a nice plate or serving tray (as opposed to the boring plate I used).
- Remove dressing from fridge. Take garlic out, whisk again and toss with the arugula. Using your hands or tongs, arrange the arugula in the middle of the serving plate.
|Yes, the meat is close to raw, but it's awesome.|
The best way to eat the carpaccio is with your fingers. Using a fork or something (like clean fingers or the Force), place a small bit of the arugula on the meat, maybe wrap it, and eat the heck out of it.
The flavour is, well, super-beefy, with the zing of the dressing and the peppery flavour of the arugula rounding out the bite perfectly. It was a fantastic dish and easy to prepare, make it if you get the chance. Trust me.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!