Often featured on the menu of fine dining establishments, carpaccio - or very thinly sliced pieces of raw meat, fish, and even fruit - is typically served as an exotic appetizer (eating raw meat is not the norm!) and is one of the most delicate of preparations that allows the distinctive flavors of meat or fish to truly come out. Here's your guide for enjoying carpaccio as an exotic appetizer at home.
There are two theories behind carpaccio, but they both begin with beef. The first and more widely-known speculation is that carpaccio was created at Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy in 1950 when it was served to the countess Amalia Nani Mocenigo whose doctor prescribed that she only eat raw meat. At her request, Giuseppe Cipriani sliced pieces of raw beef very thinly and dressed them with creamy olive oil vinaigrette. The dish was named after the 15th century painter Vittore Carpaccio because the dish reminded Cipriani of his paintings. A second story is born at Savini Restaurant in Milan with a woman who was again told only to eat raw meat (maybe it was the same lady!). The waiter suggested she call the raw meat carpaccio because it sounded more elegant then ordering raw meat. A Carpaccio painting was hanging in the restaurant at the time. No matter what the story, a delicious dish was born, but after the Italians created carpaccio, it was the French who perfected it. The French created duck carpaccio, vegetable carpaccio, and salmon and tuna carpaccios. Today, chefs are experimenting with all types of carpaccio.