Behind the French Menu gives a tasty background to French cuisine, French dishes, how they are made and how they should be served.
Where there is a story behind a dish's creation and
that story may aid the diner's enjoyment then that will also be included. Bon appétit!
The Carpaccio on your menu did not begin with a French chef; the
Carpaccio’s creator was an Italian, Giuseppe Cipriani(1900–1980). Giuseppe Ciprianiwas the owner of Harry’s Bar in Venice,
Italy and in the 1950'she created a
dish called Carpaccio di Manzo; that’s Italian for Beef Carpaccio.The dish was named in honor of the famous Venetian
renaissance painter Vittore Carpaccio (c. 1460 - 1525/1526).
The original Carpaccio.
Here seen served in a Cipriani family owned
Photograph courtesy of Franz Conde.
The dish Giuseppe Ciprianicreated uses thinly sliced,practically paper thin, marinated beef; the thin slices ofthe beef cover theplate and on the beef is drizzled a white sauce
made from fresh mayonnaise, Worcester sauce and lemon juice.
Today’s world of Carpaccios still include the original thinly
sliced beef, but to the original recipe
has been added other meats, fish, shellfish and vegetables.
A BigEye Tuna Carpaccio.
Photograph courtesy of rick.
All Carpaccios have at least one thing in common; they are all
uncooked, though the meat and fish Carpaccios are marinated.French chefs with their constant search for
fresh, clear tastes accepted the original Carpaccio as though it was
theirs.French diners have accepted the
many versions of Carpaccio as a much-loved French dish, and many do not realize
that the dish’s provenance is indisputably Italian.
Carpaccio de Lotte au Citron Vert.
A monkfish Carpaccio marinated in lime juice.
Photograph courtesy ofMarion Deveaud
French menus will offer you a wide variety of Carpaccios:
Carpacciode Boeuf,Mariné au Citron et à l'Huile d'Olive.A beef Carpaccio marinatedwith lemon and olive oil. A beef
Carpaccio may be marinated and then served with a different sauce. Some
marinades work better than others do, and diners have personal
beef Carpaccios are served with slivers of Parmesan cheese, and Parmesan is
usually an excellent addition, it creates more sensations for the tongue.The slivers of Parmesan should be an
addition, and not a covering; otherwise all you will taste is Parmesan cheese.
This happened to me and so I removed at least 70% of the excellent Parmesan
cheese to a separate plate. Then while
waiting for the main course I requested some olive oil and ate the Parmesan
cheese with olive oil and the restaurant's excellent bread rolls. That was two
excellent entrées for the price of one!
A beef Carpaccio with a salad mesclun and parmesan cheese.
Photograph courtesy of mastermaq
Carpaccio de Bœuf à l’Huile de
Truffe Blanche – A beef Carpaccio prepared with oil flavored by the white
truffle. Truffle oil is made by allowing
the truffles to steep in olive oil so the oil absorbs much of the truffle’s
flavor.With truffle flavored olive oil,
you may flavor dishes for much less than the cost of fresh truffle scrapings.A hint of the truffle flavor will there, though
the texture may be missed; the compromise should be beneficial to your pocket.
White truffle oil.
Photograph courtesy ofKathie Hodge.
blanchealso called the truffe
blanchâtre when fresh mayitself be on
French menus from January through April; it is pleasant truffle, but certainly
should not be confusedwith the much
more flavorsome, and much more expensive, and famous white Italian truffle, the
Truffe d'Alba. The Truffe d'Alba is the most expensive truffle in the
world!In France, the tastiest truffle
is the black Périgourdine truffle.For
more about truffle oil see the link at the end of this post.
Photograph courtesy of Augusta Madrid .
de Bar, Vinaigrette aux Fruits de la Passion – A
Carpaccio made from European sea bass, the fish. Here the fish is marinated in vinaigrette sauce flavored
with passion fruit; it will be served together with the marinade.For more about the European Sea Bass see the
link at the end of this post.
de Tomate aux Fines Herbes et Échalotes, Feuille de Cœur de Sucrine, Betterave
et Sorbet Cabécou - This is an intriguing vegetarian take on a Carpaccio.The Carpaccio us thinly sliced tomatoes,
flavored with the French herb group called Fine Herbs, and shallots.Then this dish moves on and becomes a whole
new creation as it is served with leaves from the heart of a baby Romaine
lettuce, beet-root, and a Cabécou goat cheese sorbet.
is a very interesting and attractive sounding dish, on my next trip to France I
should like to try it,.This dish will
be perfect for many, and not only vegetarians; however, the links to the
original Carpaccio are tenuous. For more on the herb group Les Fine Herbes see
the link at the end of this post
A beetroot Carpaccio.
Photograph courtesy of mightymightymatze
Vittore Carpaccio came from a family of famous painters;he had a famous painter for a father, and
another famous painter for a brother.Sadly, none of Carpaccio’s descendants, if they could be found, receives
any royalties for that popular dish called named after their ancestor. However,
Carpaccios on menus honor
the artist who might otherwise may have remained unknown to many.
An orange Carpaccio for dessert.
Photograph courtesy of Katherine Lynch.
Carpaccio’sreal name was
Scarpazzaa, and so he changed it to Carpaccio; I think that if I had been born
with a name like Scarpazzaa I might also have changed my name to
Carpaccio.If Vittore had not changed
his name we might find Scarpazzaa de Bœuf on the menu, and I am not sure that
it would have had the success of Carpaccio.
Vittore Carpaccio’s Flight from Egypt.
The original of this painting is in the National gallery
Photograph by courtesy of Sharon Mellorus.
From Flickr with a Creative Commons Licence.
use of red and white colors in the painting above repeatedin nearly all of Carpaccio’s works; the red
and white colors are also the colors of the original Beef Carpaccio.
If you want to see a
Carpaccio on the wall instead of on your plate, there are many in museums
around the world, from the Louvre in Paris to the J. Paul Getty Museum, in Los
Angeles, and, of course, a number did remain in Venice.
Giuseppe Cipriani the founder of Harry’s Bar, Venice, Italy, and
with his family and descendants the owner of a few other famous restaurants
around the world,wasalsothe creator of the fresh white peach and sparkling white wine cocktail
called a Bellini.For the Bellini Giuseppe
Cipriani took the name of another famous Venetian Renaissance painter Giovanni
Bellini (1430 – 1516).