Carpaccio of beef with figs and garlic oil

Bill Oldfield

Carpaccio with figsCarpaccio was invented, so I understand, by Giuseppe Cipriani in 1950 at Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy. It was named after the Renaissance painter Vittore Carpaccio who was noted for his use of red in his paintings. Thin sliced raw beef was served with a cold vinaigrette made with olive oil and it was generally served on a bed of salad such as watercress, endive or radicchio.

The term Carpaccio usually refers to very thinly cut slices of raw beef but nowadays the term is applied to everything from tuna to fruit However, here we’ve stayed with the original.

Don’t be put off by the idea of raw beef. There’s no blood, it can be supremely tender and the flavour takes some beating. But it’s important that you get the best beef you can. Eating beef raw is completely safe. However, searing the outside of the meat before flattening it…

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