Even those who regularly order their steaks on the rare side get a little nervous when it comes to raw beef preparations such as carpaccio. Up until a few years ago I shied away from any sort of crudo that didn't come from the sea, that was until I had my first bite of bresaola, the air-dried and aged beef commonly served throughout Italy.
I was sold. Soon there wasn't a carpaccio or tartare I didn't order and enjoy with abandon. Raw beef has a wonderful richness and minerality that pairs perfectly with a bit of acid, something fatty, and a handful of greens for good measure.
This recipe for Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio with Thyme from Italian Easy by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers combines all of those elements into a first course. It may very well convert those who normally blanch at the site of a bloody steak.
This dish begins with a heavily seasoned tenderloin which is briefly seared then chilled before it's sliced as thin as possible. Dressed with lemon juice and olive oil, the beef is served with a salad of peppery arugula and curls of salty Parmesan to cut the richness.
Tenderloin is one of those cuts that's usually price-prohibitive and truth be told, not all that tasty compared to other cuts—but in this instance it's just right. Thin slices, minimally dressed and garnished, and enjoyed with the same respect you'd give to sashimi.
Win Italian Easy
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Italian Easy to give away this week.
- 1 1/2 pounds beef tenderloin
- 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- 3 lemons
- 4 ounces Parmesan
- 4 ounces arugula
- Extra-virgin olive oil
Grind the peppercorns and mix with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the thyme.
Rub the tenderloin lightly with olive oil, then rub the pepper mixture into the beef. Heat a grill pan to very hot, and sear the beef on all sides. Cool.
Use a long, sharp-bladed knife to slice the beef as thinly as possible. Place the slices on a board and press with the flat blade of the knife to extend each piece.
Cover a cold plate with the beef. Season and drizzle over the juice of 1/2 lemon.
Shave the Parmesan. Toss the arugula with olive oil and a little more lemon juice. Scatter the leaves over the beef, then put the Parmesan shavings on top. Drizzle over more olive oil and serve with lemon.