The Beef Carpaccio Recipe Preamble
I have been facing a writer's block – pretentious you’re thinking – but trust me there is nothing more frustrating or pulverising than this. There is a certain high when you have the words flowing through you, the sleepless nights, feverish typing - as if they deserve to be pounded out of your fingertips – and then nothing. Your head is empty, your mind is blank and even though initially you are fine as it lets you catch up on sleep, you start feeling lonely in a couple of days. The feeling is akin to starting a relationship and suddenly being abandoned! Morose, right?
Well, anyway, like I've said it before, Manav is this great hulking meanie with a gooey heart- when I told him this he backed off and asked if there was anything he could do. Even though I was dead inside, a girl's gotta eat and so we made plans to watch the now epic failure of an Indo-Pak Final. Manav offered to cook various types of beef. Plans made and I dreamt about the food for a week!
The match being what it was, I learnt a lot from Manav last night – about ageing and curing meat, the different techniques – the process to be followed and of course how amazing it all tastes when done right!
For the Anti-pasti Manav made Beef Carpaccio. They were these wafer thin slivers of cured beef that tasted like heaven. I asked him for the recipe - and after a 5 minute struggle he gave in:
A tenderloin cut
And a few pieces of iceberg
Crushed pepper corns
Himalayan pink salt
Pinch of dry oregano
To prep the meat, the tenderloin was frozen between 0-2°C. This temperature is critical for maintaining the quality of the beef. For last night’s dish, Manav aged the meat for about a week – it could be longer too he said.
Slice the loin into really thin slices (if I attempted it my fingers would have been sliced off!)
Cut them across the meat grain, just like round carrots slices (it's all Greek to me!)
Since a meat slicer is unavailable to most, place these meat slices in between cling wraps leaving spaces between each slice for them to expand while you hammer them thinner using a meat hammer.
Gently start from the centre and move outwards as you progress making them thinner
Once done it can be stored into the freezer for upto a week,
Before serving prepare the above balsamic dressing, (any citric variation can do) such as pomelos orange's lime, red wine vinegar etc
Gently remove one side of the cling wrap and upturn a plate over it, now turn over the plate and gently separate the wrap off the meat.
Add the balsamic glaze over it and reserve some for the lettuce. Grate some cheese, add the leaves and some more dressing and strips of Parmesan over the leaves - use a grater or a mandolin slicer for the thin strips
Serve immediately, your beef carpaccio is ready
Other variations - one can top them with pine nuts or candied walnuts, or smoked oysters. He has also made it with a deep spiced version of Caesar dressing. Catch the recipe here
If you have a fridge that allows you to control the temperature, you can easily age the meat for a week- just make sure you wrap it in a cling wrap with oil glazed over it, trim the meat before ageing, for trimming beef this is a good article to get started.
PS: clean hands please
PPS: Knife as well
PPPS: Sanitise the chopping board with vinegar and also the beef before you glaze it with oil
(You get the picture - it's got be clean clean clean)
PPPPS: This process is wet ageing and does really well of you have a vacuum packing gun
Venture Forth, Never Fear!
Well there you go, I dragged it out of him for you – you could try it all by yourself now.
With the remaining meat what Manav did was even more fascinating – the hard strips he used to make this pickled shredded beef (a north east Indian delicacy) that was spicy and to die for. These are the trimming remains of the beef carpaccio.
The remaining meat he used in small Steaks that were cut up to be had as part of the starters. He grilled them medium-rare – and I can safely tell you I’ve never had better in India! My son who isn’t a big fan of any kind of non vegetarian food practically inhaled it – and wanted more!
To describe it – they were juicy, melt in your mouth pieces of pure pleasure! And boy! What a pleasure it was☺
So all the while H and Manav were ranting at the TV and then following some weird ritual of shutting it off and on ( something I believe a lot of people did) I sat there sipping my vino and stuffing my face, reminding them how it was all fixed.
Pre - ordained Matches (Fix Fix Fix)
What I got for my efforts were dirty looks even when I explained how terrorism would take a hit as Pakistan must’ve paid a bomb (pun intended) to ensure they won- even when I joked that we still got the better of them : they didn’t need to make so many runs to win – they could’ve just made 200 runs and had the same result ( ooh that one was especially hated).
But thanks to Manav’s food the evening was still bearable. He has promised me more food to get me back on my block free mode – and I liked this idea- an evening of great food – very Nigella Lawson-ish. Though Manav and I both agree she's just a pornographic video cook - ours will be about the food and humour - so stay tuned!
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