Not all dishes are created equal. While both Tartare and Carpaccio have uncooked meat as a primary ingredient, their regional influence, preparation, and presentations make them quite different.
If you ever wondered what is tartare, well, it is a food of French influence, primarily consisting of freshly ground beef, seasonings, and a binder – often mayonnaise – and is typically served topped with a raw egg. Carpaccio, on the other hand, is a distinctly Italian delight that has its base in thinly sliced, often pounded, steak cured in a sauce of olive oil, spices, and lemon juice or vinegar.
Tartare has its origins in France and was written about in literature as far back as 1660. However, the modern version of Tartare didn’t become popular until the early 20th century.
In contrast, Carpaccio didn’t make its official debut until 1950. It was first introduced at a place called Harry’s Bar in Venice, and named after the artist, Carpaccio, for his primarily red colored inspired paintings. Since then, it has grown in popularity as an appetizer for the adventurous worldwide.
Want to Try Them at Home? Here is a simple version of both delicacies.
Take a lean filet and grind the meat, or chop it finely. Do not use a food processor because it would create a far too soft texture. Mix the meat with a binder (mayo is common) a bit of Dijon mustard, an egg, coarse salt, freshly ground pepper, chopped onion, capers, or if you prefer gherkins, and a dash of Worcester sauce. Then, place the mixture in a small, round mold. Press the meat down firmly into the mold and turn it over quickly onto a cold plate. If you like, you can place a raw egg on top of the meat for extra flavor, substance, and presentation.
Other cultures, including the Danish culture, typically serve the Tartare’s condiments and spices on the side. This allows individuals around the table to add the flavors they so desire. This version of Tartare is most often served with a side of rye bread.
Note: Be sure not to prepare this meal early. The meat for Tartare should only be ground and prepped immediately before serving, to absolutely ensure its freshness and flavor.
Take a quality filet and slice it very thinly. It might help to place the meat (wrapped in cellophane) in the deep freezer for about 2 hours. When the steak is chilled (not frozen), it will be much easier to obtain a super thin slice.
After slicing, pound the meat slices with a mallet or the back of your hand, to make them even thinner, and attractively arrange the pieces on a cold plate. Lightly drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over each slice, add lemon juice or vinegar (this works as a flavored acidic, and it also has a slight curing effect on the meat). Add coarse salt, freshly ground pepper, a bit of thinly sliced onion, garden ripe tomatoes, olives, and top with shaved parmesan. This is a wonderful appetizer served with a side of delicious crusty bread.
Give it a Try
While consuming raw meat is not for everyone, there are adventurous eaters who joyfully relish both delicacies. For most recipes of either Tartare or Carpaccio, texture, spices, freshness, and marinating sauces are the keys to perfection.
If you have a craving for delicious Italian food, and you’re in the Miami area, be sure to stop by Serafina for an incredible, chef inspired, authentic Italian meal. You’re going to love it!
Serafina is located at 19565 Biscayne Blvd #1944
Restaurant Hours: Noon to 11 PM
Bar Hours: Noon to 1 AM
For Reservations: 786.920.0989