Beef Carpaccio, which is sliced raw beef tenderloin under a mustard sauce, was created at Harry's Bar in Venice, Italy. Harry's was the kind of place that, upon visiting, you might expect to run into Papa lunching with his wife Mary in the room upstairs. Hemingway was merely one of the numerous celebrities to darken the doorstep at Harry's. Other notable guests include Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Truman Capote, Orson Welles, and Woody Allen.
Beef carpaccio got its name because of the way it looks. Giuseppe Cipriani, the man who built, owned, and operated Harry's bar and the man who created beef carpaccio, loved the Italian painter Vittore Carpaccio. When Giuseppe dressed the sliced beef with the mustard sauce the bright yellow mustard on top of the vivid raw red of the beef reminded him of one of Carpaccio's paintings.
1. Pick up some nice fresh filet mignon. For this recipe I am using some prime tenderloin that I picked up from the butcher shop I work at. To make the mustard sauce I am using a dry mustard, red wine vinegar, olive oil, shallots, salt, and pepper. A very simple vinaigrette, but this dish is mostly about the meat, and these flavors will go very well with it.
2. Make the mustard sauce for the carpaccio. Measure out the wet ingredients and chop up the shallot. Also wash the arugula and dry it well using paper towels. Whisk the mustard into the vinegar until combined well. Next whisk the oil slowly into the vinegar until emulsified. Add the chopped shallots and taste the sauce. Add a little salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste.
3. Slice the filet thinly and lay on a chilled platter. Using a very sharp knife, cut the filet into thin strips and lay in a single layer on a cold plate. Toss the washed and dried arugula with the mustard sauce and place on top of the sliced beef. Lastly, crack some more black pepper over the whole thing and top with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano. Eat with warm bread immediately.
If you are having trouble slicing the beef thinly, try freezing the meat for 15-20 minutes. The meat will firm up and it will be much easier to cut.
The arugula salad is not really part of the original recipe. But I've had it that way a few times and I really like it. Arugula is delicious stuff. But you can omit it if you don't like it.
Cipriani also invented the Bellini, a combination of Prosecco and peach puree. Try having a couple of those after you finish the carpaccio. Either that or a dry martini, another drink Harry's bar is famous for.