A creation of Giuseppe Cipriani, the founder of Harry’s Bar in Venice, carpaccio is classically made with paper-thin slices of raw beef drizzled with ribbons of a thin mayonnaise-style sauce. Today, however, chefs are making carpaccios with other meats like veal and also with fish.
“I like using tuna because it looks like beef,” Francesco says. Tuna is very bland, so he rolls it in pepper and sears it before chilling and slicing it to serve. At Remi the tuna is cut into a solid one-pound log, which provides attractive round slices. But because of the amount of waste, this is impractical to do at home, where finding use for the scraps of tuna left from trimming would be a challenge. Fortunately the recipe works equally well with a thick tuna steak. The tuna is cooked wrapped in foil so the spice coating does not scorch.
- 1 pound (500g) fresh tuna, in a single slab about 1½ inches thick
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 2 tablespoons (30) ml basil oil
- Lemon wedges
- Shavings of pecorino Romano Cheese optional
- Trim any dark areas off the tuna.
- Spread both sides with a thin film of the mustard.
- Combine the peppercorns and poppy seeds on a flat plate and press them onto the tuna on both sides.
- Wrap up the coated tuna smoothly in a sheet of foil.
- Heat a heavy nonstick pan over medium heat.
- Place the slab of tuna still wrapped in the foil in the pan and cook for 1½ minutes on one side. Turn it over and cook it for 1 minute on the other side.
- Remove it from the pan.
- Refrigerate the tuna until 1 hour before serving.
- Place it in the freezer for 1 hour to make it easier to slice.
- To serve remove the foil, cut the tuna into slices about ¼ inch (6mm) thick, and arrange them on 4 plates.
- Drizzle with basil oil and serve garnished with lemon wedges and, if desired, some pecorino cheese.