This dish originated in the 1950s and was named after the Italian painter, Vittore Carpaccio, known for the reds and whites in his work. It has now become a favourite starter across the world. Here is my version (see p. 67).

Ingredients

  • 900 g (2 lb) topside of beef
  • 50 g (2 oz) Parmesan
  • freshly ground black pepper

For the Marinade

  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) balsamic vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 5 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil
  • ½ bunch of fresh thyme
  • 15 black peppercorns, crushed
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) dry white wine
  • 600 ml (1 pint) olive oil
  • 15 g (½ oz) coarse sea salt

Method

Trim the beef of any fat and sinew, which will leave you with 750–800 g (1½–1¾ lb) of meat.

Mix together all the marinade ingredients, reserving a few basil leaves to finish the dish. Roll the beef in the marinade, cover and leave to steep in the fridge for 4–5 days to achieve the maximum taste. The beef should be turned in the marinade every day. If the beef is kept in the oil in the fridge, you could leave it for up to 10–12 days.

After the marinating process, remove the meat from the marinade and wrap in cling film. Freeze it, if you like, to use later, or it can even be sliced from frozen on a slicing machine. It can also be kept in the fridge and sliced very thinly with a sharp knife as you want it. Push the marinade through a sieve to use as the dressing.

To serve the carpaccio, slice it very thinly and place the slices on to the serving plate, covering the whole surface (about three to four slices if cut by hand, four to five if cut on a machine). Chop the remaining basil leaves and add to the dressing. Brush this over the meat and twist on some freshly ground black pepper. The Parmesan can be sliced from a piece into shavings and laid on top, or it can be grated and served separately.

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