Monday, August 20, 2007

Beef Carpaccio

I absolutely love Beef Carpaccio. It is a perfect meal for meat lovers in this triple digit heat. Kelly thinks that I make the best Beef Carpaccio in the world. I won't argue :)

First, I start with the best quality beef I can find. Normally I would go to Charlie's Meat Market, 4790 Summer Avenue 38122. They have a great selection, excellent quality and a true "butcher" atmosphere. However, with Sunday being my only day off I went to Fresh Market. I've experimented with a number of different cuts of meat for this recipe such as tenderloin and sirloin, but I've found that strip steak works the best. It has the most flavor and best texture and mouthfeel.

Next, I coat the steak with a heavy blend of sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. If you've had the steak in the fridge for sometime, let it come to room temperature before searing. Get a medium-sized skillet SCREAMING hot. Add enough olive oil to barely coat the pan and place in the steaks. After 2 minutes check them, if there is a nice brown crust flip them over. After both sides are crusty and brown place both of the steaks on a plate and in the freezer for 5 minutes. Placing the meat in the freezer makes it firm up and cool down quickly. Take the steaks out and slice them into 1/4 inch slices. Place them on a sheet of plastic wrap and cover with another sheet. Using a rolling pin (or empty wine bottle which is what I normally use), bash the hell out of the meat until it is very thin. Arrange the thin steak on a serving platter. In a mixing bowl, toss one package of pre-rinsed baby spinach or arugula with the juice of half a lemon. Drizzle the beef with truffle oil, scatter with coarse sea salt (I prefer Maldon, which you can buy at Mantia's, 4856 Poplar Ave. 38117, along with the truffle oil), top with spinach and shaved Parmiggiano-Reggiano. I like to use a vegetable peeler to get nice cheese shavings of the block of Parmiggiano. The best accompaniment with the Carpaccio is thick slices of grilled rustic Italian or French bread.

To pair with the Carpaccio I poured a 2002 Catena Cabernet Sauvignon from Mendoza, Argentina. The supple tannins and sweet black fruit paired nicely with the earthiness of the beef and truffle. The full body and nice acidity cut through the texture of the beef. Delicious.

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