Wednesday, January 15, 2014

carpaccio and happiness, at home, where it should be

This is at its very best served really informally at home with the right person, with homemade mayonnaise - which is a traditional carpaccio accompaniment, and properly delicious with chips too. 

The quality of your meat is everything. It needs to come from an animal that has been fed correctly and well hung to ensure it is tender. I prefer the flavour and texture of a pure Angus breed, but there are plenty other good breeds too.

It is pretty much all about the setting and the company. If the food is a bit more than half decent, the full package has pretty much been achieved. That's where something like this comes in. Buy a great piece of meat, do precious little to it, savour the occasion - perfection achieved.

Beef carpaccio/Parmesan/rocket/radishes

Serves just the 2, 4 at a push

500g trimmed fillet of beef
freshly ground black pepper and good quality salt
40g fresh rocket
80g shaved Parmesan
60g fresh very cold red radishes, shaved
40ml extra virgin olive oil
20ml lemon juice

Season the beef well with the pepper and roll up firmly in a large piece of cling film or foil. Roll the film back and forth to make the meat even and nicely rounded. Chill for 30 minutes.

With a very sharp knife, slice the meat as thinly as possible and arrange on a serving platter. Garnish with the rocket, drizzle with the oil and a splash of lemon juice and finally the radishes and Parmesan, and a sprinkle of salt.

Homemade mayonnaise

I more often than not add water or sometimes crème fraîche to my mayonnaise, both to whiten it and to make it lighter on the palate, so that it doesn't overpower the beef.

2 free range egg yolks
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp English or Dijon mustard
150ml groundnut oil
150ml olive oil
2 tblsp cold water

Place the egg yolks, vinegar and mustard in a bowl and whisk together with a balloon whisk. Gradually incorporate the oil, whisking continuously until you have a thick emulsion. Add the water and season. Transfer to a clean jar. The mayonnaise will keep for five days in the fridge.

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