Carpaccio - The Tasty, Thinly Sliced, (Ideally Paper Thin) Dish of Meat, Fish, Vegetables or Fruits in French Cuisine.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman


The original Carpaccio.
Here served in a Cipriani family owned restaurant.
The original Carpaccio is paper thin slices of beef marinated in virgin olive oil and lemon and covering the serving plate.  Onto the beef is drizzled a white sauce made with fresh mayonnaise, Worcester sauce, and lemon juice. Shavings of Parmesan cheese may be added.   The marinated beef has the texture of delicately sliced smoked salmon with a flavor that is the Carpaccio’s own.

Beef Carpaccio with Parmesan shavings and a soy accented sauce.

N.B. The original Carpaccio did not begin with a French chef; the Carpaccio’s creator was an Italian, Giuseppe Cipriani  (1900–1980). Giuseppe Cipriani was the owner of Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy and in the 1950's he 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 - 1526). According to the Cipriani tradition, the dish was created for a regular customer of Harry’s Bar whose doctor had forbidden her to eat cooked meat. 

Changes have been made to the original Carpaccio
Today’s world of Carpaccios still include the original paper-thin beef, but to the original recipe has been added other meats, fish, shellfish, and vegetables. Nevertheless, all Carpaccios have at least one thing in common; they are all uncooked, though the meat, shellfish, and fish are marinated. 
  Zucchini (courgette) carpaccio with pistachios and avocado
French chefs with their constant search for fresh, clear tastes accepted the original Carpaccio as though it was theirs.  French diners have recognized 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 on French menus: 

Carpaccio d'Espadon Mariné au Citron, Grenade et Pignons de Pins - Swordfish carpaccio marinated in lemon and pomegranate and served with pine nuts.
Swordfish Carpaccio
Carpaccio de Boeuf, Mariné au Citron et à l'Huile d'Olive -  Beef Carpaccio marinated with lemon and olive oil. This sounds like the original recipe. Ask.   Beef Carpaccio may be marinated differently and then served with a different sauce. Some marinades work better than others do, and diners have personal preferences.          
Beef Carpaccios are often served with slivers of Parmesan cheese.  Slivers of Parmesan are an excellent addition; they create more sensations for the tongue.  The Parmesan should be an addition and not a covering; otherwise, all you will taste is Parmesan cheese. When I was served a beef Carpaccio totally covered in Parmesan cheese, I removed at least 90% of the cheese to a separate plate. The beef Carpaccio was excellent and the small amount of Parmesan was the perfect addition.  Then while waiting for the main course, I requested some virgin olive oil, dipped the restaurant's  bread rolls in the olive oil and the cheese and ate them together. The excellent Parmesan cheese, a fine virgin olive oil, and the restaurant's excellent bread rolls were a perfect combination. That was two outstanding entrées (French first courses) for the price of one!
Venison Carpaccio
Carpaccio de Bœuf à l’Huile de Truffe Blanche – Beef Carpaccio prepared with olive oil flavored with the white truffle.  Truffle oil is made by allowing the truffles to be steeped in olive oil, so the oil absorbs much of the truffle’s flavor.  With truffle-flavored virgin olive oil, you may flavor dishes for much less than the cost of fresh truffle scrapings.  The virgin olive oil will add its flavor but a hint of the truffle will also be there, though the texture will be missed. Nevertheless, the compromise should be beneficial to your pocket.

The truffe blanche, also called the truffe blanchâtre, when fresh may be on French menus from January through April. The truffe blanche is a pleasant truffle, but certainly should not be confused with 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.  
Carpaccio 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.  
 Salmon Carpaccio.
Carpaccio de Tomate aux Fines Herbes et Échalotes, Feuille de Cœur de Sucrine, Betterave et Sorbet Cabécou - An intriguing vegetarian take on a Carpaccio.  The Carpaccio is thinly sliced tomatoes, flavored with the most important of French herb groups Les 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, beetroot, and a Cabécou goat cheese sorbet. At the end, a hint of the Carpaccio connection remains.
Beetroot Carpaccio

The real Carpaccio family.

Vittore Carpaccio came from a family of famous painters; he had a renowned painter for a father and another renowned painter for a brother.   Sadly, none of Carpaccio’s descendants, if they could be found, receives any royalties for that popular dish named after their ancestor. Despite that, Carpaccios on menus honor the artist who might otherwise have remained unknown to many.
Carpaccio’s real 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.  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.
The use of red and white colors in the painting below is repeated in nearly all of Carpaccio’s works; red and white colors are also the colors of the original Beef Carpaccio.
Carpaccio’s Flight into Egypt
The original of this painting is in the National Gallery of Art,
Washington D.C.

If you want to see a Carpaccio on the wall instead of on your plate, there are many in museums around the world.  Visit the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., the Louvre in Paris, the J. Paul Getty Museum, in Los Angeles, and, of course, the single largest collection of Carpaccio’s works in the Guildhall of the Dalmatians, Scuola Dalmata S.ti Giorgio e Trifone, Venice.
Harry’s Bar, Venice.
Giuseppe Cipriani, the founder of Harry’s Bar, Venice, and the creator of the beef Carpaccio was also the creator of the fresh white peach and Prosecco sparkling wine cocktail called a Bellini.  For the Bellini Cipriani took the name of another famous Venetian Renaissance painter Giovanni Bellini (1430 – 1516). The Bellini has also been admired and adapted. Now you may enjoy Rum Bellinis, Vodka Bellinis and more.
Harry’s Bar Venice is named after Harry Pickering, an American who gave the owner Giuseppe Cipriani the funds needed to begin. At the time Cipriani had been a bartender at the Hotel Europa where Harry Pickering was a frequent visitor. Cipriani opened Harry’s Bar in 1931.  (The Europa hotel is now called the Westin Europa and Regina). Cipriani‘s Bar in Venice was the original Harry’s bar and is not related to the many others that use the name in other cities.  It worth stopping by for their coffee and chocolate cake at midnight even if it costs around USD 40.00 for one.  Included in that price is support for the owner's bank loans and this Italian national landmark. Harry’s Bar, in 2001  was added to the list of Italy's National Landmarks by the Italian government.
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Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman


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