This recipe is essentially the same as tuna carpaccio. Both are named for a 16th century Venetian painter. Unlike the classic beef carpaccio, Francesco’s version is not served totally raw. Its spice, appropriately enough, is black pepper, a commodity controlled by Venice in the 12th century and so precious that in Europe peppercorns were used as currency. The recipe can also be made with veal. As for the Parmesan cheese, Francesco recommends using a potato peeler to cut thin shavings. “In the restaurant we use the meat slicer,” he says, “but that’s because we have to do a very large quantity every day.”
Black Peppered Beef Carpaccio with Tarragon Dressing
- 1 pound (500g) center-cut beef tenderloin (fillet), in a single piece
- 2 tablespoons cracked black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- Salt to taste
- 2 bunches arugula (rocket) rinsed, dried, and stems removed
- 2 cups tarragon dressing
- The beef should be well-trimmed but not tied.
- Place it on a sheet of foil large enough to enclose it. Mix the peppercorns, poppy seeds, and salt together and spread them on the foil. Roll the beef in the spices to coat the outside, then wrap the beef tightly in the foil.
- Heat a heavy nonstick skillet.
- Place the foil-wrapped beef in the skillet and sear it all around, leaving it to cook about 1 minute on every side, enough to cook the outside but leave the center rare.
- Remove it from the skillet and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes.
- To serve, unwrap the beef and slice it very thin.
- Arrange some of the arugula on each plate, then arrange the slices of beef on top.
- Drizzle each portion with tarragon dressing and top with shavings of cheese.