Thursday, 1 October 2015

Carpaccio – artist or food?



How the word Carpaccio became a food …


Carpaccio of beef with capers, parmesan
slithers and rocket
Carpaccio is the international name of a typical Italian dish made with raw beef, served with a sprinkling of olive oil, shaved parmesan, a light, green salad and some lemon … 



... it was so named after Vittore Carpaccio a Venetian painter, who studied under Gentile Bellini (brother of the more well-known Giovanni Bellini) in the late 13th to early 14th centuries.



The vision of  St Augustine (1502) 
How do these connections come about?  In the 1960s a doctor recommended that one of his patients, a Countess, should eat raw meat to improve her health … Guiseppe Cipriani, the founder of Harry’s Bar in Venice, invented and popularised the dish for her. 



The Virgin Reading
(1505 - 1510)


What to name it? – easy … the dish was named after an exhibition being held in Venice at the time, 1963, dedicated to Vittore Carpaccio. 






Portrait of the Doge
Leonardo Loredan (1510)

The Venetian painter is known for the characteristic red and white tones of his work … and Cipriani had based the dish on the Piedmont speciality carna cruda all’albese … so carpaccio, usually served as an appetiser, came into the language of cuisine, and continues to feature in many a restaurant.






A platter of antipasti
 I often choose it when we go out … and do love it for its simplicity and freshness of taste.  A dish of very thinly sliced raw meat, fish or vegetables (usually seasoned with lemon, olive oil, freshly ground pepper and shavings of parmesan, or pecorino) served on a bed of rocket, or rucola, with some French bread; or here as an antipasto.



The well-stocked kitchen by the
Flemish painter Joachim Beuckelaer


I have also learnt about Vittore Carpaccio, whom I had not heard of before, an artist influenced by the style of Early Netherlandish art and who became recognised as one of the early masters of the Venetian Renaissance.



Language is a wonderful teacher of etymology and of history – I certainly had no idea that one of my choices in a restaurant had been named after a Renaissance artist.


Served with lemon, olive oil and shavings
of Parmesan or white truffle

Vittore Carpaccio (1465 - 1525/6) is not very well known today – but his works live on in Venice, and now I have an extra snippet to educate my fellow diners!




The Legend of Saint Ursula – a series of large wall-paintings on canvas, originally created for the Scuola di Sant’Orsola in Venice … they are now in the Gallerie dell’Academia in Venice … a link to the Wikipedia pageon these works.



Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

50 comments:

Patsy said...

I had heard of the food, though I haven't eaten it. I'd assumed the beef was cured like ham - is that the case?

Hadn't heard of the artist, but I can see the logic of using his name for the dish.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Patsy - it's raw beef, sliced very very thin, and obviously must come from very fresh meat. The circles of beef are formed when it is rolled and chilled, prior to cutting, and given a coating of herbs ... it is not cured.

I often used to make steak tartare 'centuries' ago! When it was easier to (grind - gosh I'm getting American) mince up the meat and mix with the other ingredients ... raw onion, garlic, capers, s and p, and in those days a raw egg yolk - not sure now ... it'd be on the side for those of us who wished to add it, I would think. I'd serve it with herby bread, not as strong as garlic bread.

Hope that's clarified it? Cheers Hilary

Patsy said...

It has - thanks! It's not something I'd make myself, but if I saw it on a menu I might give it a try. Sounds like a nice light option. Often first courses seem very filling and I skip them (to leave room for the all important sweet!)

Elephant's Child said...

In my meat eating days I loved it. Fresh and full of flavour. These days the vegies take its place. And a vegie carpaccio always strikes me as a bit of a cheat.

Out on the prairie said...

never tried it. I go to a place that has 3 versions of tartare, so perhaps on is similar.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'd heard of Carpaccio before, but didn't know they'd named that dish after him. Afraid I'll have to pass on raw meat. I don't eat sushi either for that reason.

Blogoratti said...

Interesting, thanks for sharing that.

Jo said...

Like you, I love(d) tartare - my father made a fabulous one - and have eaten different versions in several places. A friend's dad was Polish so her mother used to make the Polish version quite often. I have not often had Carpaccio but I enjoy it as well. Didn't know the story of it's origin or name, thanks for the information. By the way, a proper tartare should NEVER be minced or ground, but finely chopped. My father even used to scrape the beef.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Patsy - thanks ... glad I was able to clarify. I go for the appetiser rather than your important dessert! It'll be interesting to hear from you if and when you do try it.

@ EC - I can understand that ... I don't eat a lot of meat and usually eat fish or veg at home ... but when I'm out a treat is what I enjoy. I agree veggie carpaccio would be a bit of a cheat ...

@ OOTP - perhaps you could give it a go sometime ...

@ Alex - I'm glad you'd heard of Carpaccio - I suspect many people won't have heard of the artist. Ok - I understand re the raw meat and sushi ... love both - sad I love my food!

@ Blogoratti - thank you

@ Jo - the Polish version must have been really good - they have excellent cuisine. I'm glad you enjoyed learning where the name came from. I know tartare should be scraped off the bone and diced very thinly - there are limits to the detail I put in (sometimes!).

Cheers to you all ... the artist interests me ... I may need to check out more of his works sometime. Hilary

Karen Walker said...

I hadn't heard of the dish or the artist. So interesting, Hilary

T. Powell Coltrin said...

This is so interesting. Umm, I can't do raw meat, but the picture makes me want to.

Betsy Brock said...

I can see why you choose it....it sounds delicious and the presentation is beautiful!

Gattina said...

That's one of the favourite plates of my dear husband ! I ate it for the first time when I went with him to Italy to know his family that was in 1968 ! I love it too !

Rhodesia said...

Interesting post and a dish I love. We still have steak tartare from time to time, probably my favourite dish. Hope all is well Diane

New Release Books said...

Interesting post, but I'm sort of gone off from meats at the moment.

Botanist said...

Well, I've just eaten supper but now I'm hungry all over again! Those dishes are art in themselves, so the naming is not out of place.

Diana Wilder said...

I remember reading of someone who ate sliced, very cold, very fresh fish. Salmon, if I recall correctly. The story took place in the north woods. At any rate, I thought it sounded delicious, but it would need to be n early frozen. (Hm... Sounds like Lox, but not frozen) This sounds like that, and may very well be delicious if surrounded by impeccanbly fresh, luscious side dishes.

Sara C. Snider said...

How interesting! You'd think the name would come from the person who invented it, rather than an artist who lived a few centuries prior. Love the connection though. And as far as Renaissance art goes, the Flemish have always been a favorite of mine. I think it's their tendency to focus more on domestic life (and food) that captures my attention. So that Carpaccio was influenced by them and then got a dish named after him seems fitting.

Denise Covey said...

Hi Hilary! I've never been able to get into eating raw steak (or even fish), Luddite that I am. I'll never forget Geo's face when I told him he was eating raw steak (steak tartare) in France. Poor boy! He should have studied those French words I'd been teaching him.

Hope all goes well with you Hilary!

Denise :-)

Marja said...

How are you. Nice to be back. That food looks so delicious. The colour in the paintings does come back in the food. I never had the Carpaccio before I think. We had lots of antipasto though when we were in Italy. Absolutely love it. Love everyting Italien though Food, icecream, music, architecture, art etc

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Karen - I was fascinated by the naming ...

@ Teresa - sorry about the raw meat bit ... but I loved the connection of name and dish

@ Betsy - yes, it is a delicious light dish ... and looks enticing

@ Gattina - ah ah .. dear Mr G - and now you love it too .. well we know what to eat next time don't we!!

@ Diane - that's wonderful to read .. I'd do steak tartare too if the situation was right - being on my own I tend to go to others and do very little cooking now (or mashing up raw meat!). I would say it's one of my favourites - and I'm glad it's coming back into fashion.

@ Lynne - thanks for coming by .. but sorry about the 'no desire for meat' at the moment: good luck with your book releases.

@ Ian - sorry about timing - one problem with blogging! Glad you enjoyed the post and its connectivity ...

@ Diana - well if they were starving they'd eat anything ... but watch this space next week for more on that subject! Lox is a fillet of brined salmon, while Gravlax salmon is raw, cured in salt, sugar and dill - love that too. You have to trust your restaurant ... ie be in a good one - but it is delicious.

@ Sara - yes ... the naming of things is usually that way round isn't it - but I loved the centuries old connection ... especially as we're learning about the Renaissance and the Flemish (ie Northern Renaissance). The Flemish artists must reflect more about their home life ... but this was the only picture I could easily find. Thanks - your comment just adds that extra to the post.

@ Denise - oh well .. something we differ on! I love those sorts of foods and always have done. I think I've always tried new things ... but I love food. I can imagine Geo's face ... so funny to think about it - I'm surprised he didn't realise ... maybe he was mesmerised by the waiter making it for you at the table: at least I guess that's what happened - it used to .. though I know you can do it yourself.

@ Marja - Good to see you too ... and to hear things are progressing more easily for you now: I was glad to read your post. You'd have had slices of carpaccio in the antipasto in Italy .. I feel certain; Italian culture is good in so many aspects isn't it ...

Thanks everyone lovely to see you ... we have another wonderful warm sunny day here (blissful weather!) - cheers Hilary

TexWisGirl said...

no way i could eat raw meat of any type. i'm a meat geek as it is, even when cooked. :)

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I've never eaten that dish before, but it sounds like something I would like. I like beef best when it's served rare, and ya can't get much rarer than raw. :)

Southpaw HR Sinclair said...

Totally interesting that it was named after an artist!

Stephen Tremp said...

Hilary, interesting post but I have to draw the line against raw meat. Wifey loves sushi but I just can't get past the fact it's not cooked. I did microwave it once and it tasted just like fish.

Jeffrey Scott said...

Hey, you are back to blogging!
I'm so sorry, I missed the memo.
Never heard of this dish before, but I've also been lead to believe that eating raw meat was bad for us.
It's always interesting to see where various words come from.

klahanie said...

Hi Hilary,

Hope you're sitting comfortably, my kind friend! Yes, your eyes do not deceive you for I'm actually commenting.

Raw beef does seem a fascinating way to consume said meat. Perhaps so raw it becomes a mooooving experience.

The way your post connects all the dots, so to speak, is one of the reasons I like reading your posts. That would be when I actually switch on my computer and visit.

Have a lovely weekend and thank you for your supportive friendship, Hilary.

Gary

DMS said...

While I have heard of this dish and versions of it- I don't recall hearing of the painter whose name it uses. I certainly learned a lot here today. Thanks for the interesting lesson. :)
~Jess

Suzanne Furness said...

I have heard of the dish and seen it on menus, but must confess I haven't tried it. Maybe I will now I know a little more about it.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Theresa - I know many don't like raw food - but a meat geek is fine!

@ Susan - that's great and I hope you give it a try and let us know. Rare beef is almost uncooked isn't it ... enjoy having a go.

@ Holly - it was fun to learn about and I thought everyone would enjoy reading about this link: so am very glad you did.

@ Stephen - sorry you're not a raw meat or fish eater. Your wife has a good choice! Microwaving ... yugh - I never micro wave anything and now don't own one. I know a microwave can be a boon ... but I've never got the hang of it and so now run from them!!

@ Jeffrey - thanks for the thought .. I'd said I'd return in September and I duly did what I said I'd do: surprisingly. I'm now getting back to the hang of it.

Raw meat has many attributes - cooking can destroy so much - but it needs to be eaten as fresh as possible, though game is hung for days ... food is an interesting commodity: we can do so much with it ...

@ Gary - I was surprised and delighted to see you here again! - your latest post explained life is not easy for you. Thanks for the moooooooving bit! Cows make good subjects for the painter ...

Appreciate your comment - it's interesting to read it ... and I'm glad my posts are worth reading - thanks so much.

@ Jess - I hadn't realised where the name came from either ... so when I found out about the connection I had to write about it.

@ Suzanne - I hope you'll give it a try now ... it's a great starter and tastes very refreshing ... I love it - as you'll have gathered.

Cheers to one and all ... this looks like our last weekend of warm, sunny weather - we've had a blissful couple of (or few?!) weeks of amazing early autumn weather ... thanks for your comments - Hilary

Deborah Weber said...

I'd never heard of the dish or the artist, so I'm leaving with two new interesting bits of info today. Extra yummy!

bazza said...

Hello Hilary. I think Italian food is my favourite. I like the way it is founded upon using the very finest of ingredients. A tricolore salad in a good Italian restaurant is usually so much better than elsewhere (Turkish for example).
However, I have not eaten red meat for forty years although I do enjoy fish and poultry. The nearest to this dish I have had was a plate of three types of raw fish thinly sliced and soaked in lime juice which was exquisite!
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s fabulous Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

A Cuban In London said...

Funny anecdote from me. I used to think years and years ago that carpaccio was was a fish dish named after the carp (I know, I know!). I later found out that it was what you wrote in your post. Thanks for that beautifully written column.

Greetings from London.

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Quite interesting!I would stay away from the raw meat, but it is a pretty and artistic dish. Thanks for sharing the story and the photos!

Joanne said...

very interesting post, and indeed the plates pictured look like works of art. So much history in food and presentation.

Juliet Batten said...

Well, I'd never have associated raw meat with an old master! You always ferret out the most intriguing facts Hilary. Don't think it would be quite to my taste, but nice to be back on the blog after a gap and to see your blog looking very nice, with new design. Congratulations.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Deborah - it was the artist I was interested in ... because I already love the dish. Yummy as you say.

@ Bazza - how lovely to see you - Italian food is very good isn't it. I love salads ... but I love Turkish/Greek food too .. but probably Italian is delicious and the simplest. I don't eat a lot of red meat - or meat at all - but love fish and veggies ... and have an occasional meat dish.

Good for you for eating no red meat ... but like me you enjoy poultry and fish. Ceviche is delicious, which I think is what you probably had, as too other varieties of raw fish dishes ... some cured, some just marinated. Love them too ... but it's usually beef that's on the menu.

@ ACIL - yes - it is funny how we can relate names to think they might be called after ... I think I'll revise my thoughts in this direction! Carp for carpaccio ... makes sense though. So glad you enjoyed the article and info it contained.

@ Monti - thought you'd like the artist ... and the link with him via the dish is fascinating isn't it. I'm happy the photos satisfied the artistic side for you.

@ Joanne - I think now you have to be an artist to be a chef .. amazing what they come up with. I'm happy I gave you something else to think about - I do hope you can have some peace with your father.

@ Juliet - thanks .. the links tickled me too ... so I had to write about them. It is a delicious dish .. a treat for me. Thanks for the comment re the blog and it's good to see you back.

Thanks everyone ... today is our last day of late summer sunshine and dry weather .... still it's been bliss while it lasted!! Have good weeks - Hilary

beste barki said...

Hello Hilary,
I do like salami, pastrami and that sort of thing but if it is not treated in any way I would have misgivings about trying the carpaccio.
Your post made me think of peche melba.
The Peach Melba (French: pêche Melba) is a dessert of peaches and raspberry sauce with vanilla ice cream. The dish was invented in 1892 or 1893 by the French chef Auguste Escoffier at the Savoy Hotel, London, to honour the Australian soprano Nellie Melba.
I believe she once commented that the desert would be remembered longer than herself.

Lisa said...

Oh boy, I know my mother, sister, daughter and husband would all LOVE this dish. I didn't know the history of it. Quite intriguing, and thank you for the paintings. I've seen a lot of them before (not in "real" life mind you) and always have enjoyed them. I'm sending my family the link to this post!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Beste - I'm alive! It is delicious ... so well worth trying. Yes Peach Melba is a delicious dish and one I'd have often - but try not to! It's fascinating to find out where the name of a dish comes from ... I suspect she might be right ... that the dessert would outlive her in the memory bank of life. Good comment ...

@ Lisa - that's great ... I hope they do enjoy the post and story line. I hadn't heard of Vittore Carpaccio .. so it was interesting for me to find out about him and the dish naming on his behalf .. 500 years later!

Cheers to you both ... have great week's ahead. Hilary

Rhonda Albom said...

I have eaten what many consider to be strange foods, all around the world, yet I don't know if I could bring myself to eat raw beef in the UK - or anywhere for that matter. You are braver than I. Interesting story, and I am glad you enjoy it.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Rhonda - I can believe you've eaten lots of strange foods around the world with all your travels - raw beef, I'd have said!, would be one of the more 'normal' foods to try - rather than Sushi, or Gravlax ... I very probably would have struggled to eat some of the foods you've eaten! But carpaccio .. I love - cheers Hilary

Lynn said...

That is so interesting - how that dish got its name! I wouldn't eat that, but it sure is beautiful.

David P. King said...

Got to hand it to the early explorers. :)

Sarah E. Albom said...

looks delicious! Although that lemon knocks me out of being able to eat it :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Lynn - it is delicious .. but I loved the way it got its name and it is a simple beautiful plate of food.

@ David - thanks Burchell in the next post is yet another example of one of those men who travelled, recorded, and collected .. so we have an idea of life 200 years ago.

@ Sarah - it is wonderful! The lemon does not need to be on the dish .. usually lemon is added for decoration with a few drops for flavour - give it a try sometime.

Thanks to you three - cheers Hilary

Gattina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gattina said...

Sorry I wanted to comment on your William Burchell post, must have scrolled down too much !

Susan Scott said...

Your photos are making me hungry Hilary thank you! I don't know about Carpaccio the painter? Will investigate time permitting!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Gattina - don't worry .. you went there - thank you.

@ Susan - I too didn't know anything about Vittore Carpaccio ... but am always up for learning - there were a few other things on Wiki about him.

Cheers Hilary