Carpaccio (kahr-PAH-chee-oh) was invented at Harry’s American Bar in Venice, Italy, made famous by Ernest Hemmingway. The original dish consisted of paper-thin, room temperature slices of raw beef dressed with olive oil and lemon juice. The dish was named for the painter Vittore Carpaccio (1460-1525), who was noted for his use of the color red. It should also be noted that Harry’s Bar also invented the champagne and peach nectar aperitif called the Bellini.
Since many people have an aversion to raw meat, this recipe has been modified to use meat grilled medium rare. The grilling adds the flavor of browned meat to make the dish more savory. I have also added capers and balanced the meat with sliced cucumbers.
Fillet mignon, approximately 2 inches thick
Olive oil for brushing and finishing
Fresh ground black pepper
Capers, drained and rinsed
Prepare the grill for direct cooking over a very hot fire (600°F), trim the meat of all fat. Brush both sides with oil, and season with salt and pepper.
Grill directly over the fire for approximately 5 minutes per side until medium rare (135°F). It is recommended to remove the meat at 130°F, because it will reach the desired temperature by the time you reach the kitchen.
Place the meat in a freezer until quite firm (approximately 45 minutes).. This will allow slicing it very thin. Arrange the sliced meat on a serving platter with the cucumber and let stand until the meat reaches room temperature. Sprinkle the meat lightly with oil and lemon juice, and scatter capers on top.