Carpaccio is an Italian version of steak tartare. It is made of raw beef and dressed with lemony mayonnaise and was created in Harry's Bar in Venice, which, despite the name, is actually a first-class restaurant opened by an Italian named Giuseppe Cipriani in 1931. This version uses a balsamic vinaigrette instead of mayonnaise and is a wonderfully light summer meal.
If the raw beef concerns you, you can quickly brown the steak on all sides over high heat before proceeding. It won’t be as authentic, but it might eliminate any possible contamination and the possibility of food-borne illness, which is always a risk with uncooked meat. However, unless the meat reaches a certain internal temperature, it still will not be safe.
The Rules on Meat Safety
Even if you really do love raw steak in a traditional carpaccio or steak tartare, you should be aware of the rules for meat safety. Here they are, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. First, no raw meat is safe. Eat at your own risk. Just what are the risks? Salmonella and E.coli are pretty nasty. Beef must be cooked to a safe internal temperature to kill the germs. If the meat is ground, it must be cooked at least to medium, or an internal temperature of at 160 F. If it's a steak, as you would use in carpaccio, it is safe if it reaches an internal temperature of 145 F, or medium-rare, and allowed to stand for 3 or more minutes at minimum before cutting or eating. Rare is not considered safe even if the meat is steak. The only way to know if meat is cooked to a level of doneness that is safe is to use a meat thermometer. Visual indicators, such as the color of the meat, the texture or clear juices cannot be depended upon.
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pound steak (tenderloin is best); partially frozen
- 1 cup baby arugula leaves
- Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano (or other hard Italian cheese)
- Whisk together the mustard, vinegar, oil, and salt and pepper.
- Slice the steak as thin as possible. This is much easier if it's partially frozen or you use an electric knife.
- Arrange the arugula on two plates, top with beef slices, and lightly season with good sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
- Garnish with shavings of Parmigiano, then sprinkle lightly with the vinaigrette.