I love these special issues of M magazine; they get my creative juices flowing as I come up with the perfect recipe to fit the theme. This week, we're all about luxury and what could be more luxurious than this beef carpaccio?
Just think about the origins... created in Harry's Bar in Venice, in 1950, for a countess who had been told by her doctor she should eat only raw meat. The name carpaccio comes from the Venetian painter Vittore Carpaccio, because the owner of Harry's Bar found the colours in it reminiscent of the painter's works. High art, aristocracy and a bar in Venice where a glass of water will cost you more than practically anywhere else in the world - what could be more luxurious? And we haven't even touched on the dish itself yet.
I think there is something intrinsically luxurious (don't you just love the way these long words flow?) about raw food. If you think about it, the most expensive foods in the world are often raw: caviar (more on that in the fabulous feature on page 24), oysters, and sushi to name a few.
When you are preparing raw food, as opposed to cooking it, the key is to start with the best possible ingredients available. In this case, you need the highest quality beef you can find, because with a carpaccio, what you buy is what you eat. There may be some mustard sauce accompanying it, but if the beef is not good, you're onto a losing thing from the very beginning.
Like many luxurious items, this dish is actually very simple, in spite of the aura that surrounds it. I mean it is not the sort of thing you would have been served for your tea on the Leeds housing estate I grew up on. But at the same time, there is nothing at all complicated about putting a piece of beef in the freezer. So don't be put off by its name, or its fancy origins. If you can afford some decent beef you're over the biggest obstacle. Go on, treat yourself like a countess...
MAKE IT YOURSELF
Carpaccio of beef with a mustard dressing
400g fillet of beef
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 4 handfuls wild rocket, washed and dried
For the dressing:
2 egg yolks
4 tsp Dijon mustard
4 tsp grain mustard
2 tsp lemon juice
A dash of Worcestershire sauce
400ml vegetable oil
Salt to taste
1. Wrap the beef fillet tightly in cling film and place in a freezer for approximately 2 hours.
2. For the dressing, whisk the egg yolk with the Dijon and grain mustards, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce.
3. Slowly pour in the vegetable oil, whisking all the time. Season with salt.
4. To serve, remove the beef fillet from the freezer, unwrap, and using a very sharp serrated knife, slice as finely as you can, (you should make around 64 slices).
5. Divide the beef slices between 8 plates and brush lightly with olive oil, using a pastry brush.
6. Drizzle with the mustard dressing and scatter over the rocket leaves.