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What is Carpaccio?

Learn the history of carpaccio, how to prepare it, and what it tastes like.

Carpaccio Hero

What is carpaccio?

Carpaccio is a dish made with thin slices of raw, cured, or slightly cooked meat, fish, or vegetables. The thin slices are typically served chilled or at room temperature and are often topped with a dressing or sauce. Today, carpaccio is enjoyed as a popular appetizer or main course in many Italian and non-Italian restaurants around the world.

What does carpaccio taste like?

The taste of carpaccio can vary depending on the type of meat, fish, or vegetables that are used to make it. For example, beef carpaccio made with thinly sliced raw beef will have a distinct, slightly gamey flavor, while fish carpaccio made with raw fish will have a fresh, slightly sweet taste. Vegetable carpaccio made with raw or slightly cooked vegetables will have a crunchy, slightly sweet taste. The flavor of the dish is also influenced by the dressings or sauces that are used to top it. These may include ingredients such as lemon juice, olive oil, capers, and grated Parmesan cheese, which can add tanginess, richness, and saltiness to the dish.

What is the history/origin of carpaccio?

The dish known as carpaccio is named after the Venetian painter Vittore Carpaccio, who was known for his use of bright, vibrant colors in his paintings. The dish is believed to have originated in Italy in the 1950s at a restaurant called Harry's Bar in Venice. According to legend, the dish was created by the owner of the restaurant, Giuseppe Cipriani, for a countess who was on a diet and wanted a light meal. Cipriani thinly sliced a piece of raw beef, dressed it with lemon juice and olive oil, and served it as an appetizer. The dish was a hit and became a signature item on the menu at Harry's Bar. It soon became popular in other parts of Italy and eventually spread to other parts of the world.

How is carpaccio served? 

Carpaccio is typically served as an appetizer or as a main course. It’s typically made with thin slices of raw, cured, or slightly cooked meat, fish, or vegetables. Carpaccio may also be served with a side of greens or other vegetables, such as arugula or shaved fennel, which are often dressed with a vinaigrette or other light dressing. The dish may also be garnished with additional ingredients, such as chopped herbs, diced tomatoes, or sliced avocado, depending on the recipe. Carpaccio is typically served as a whole dish. 

How do you make carpaccio? 

To make carpaccio:

  1. Start by thinly slicing the meat or fish using a sharp knife or a mandoline slicer. If you are using beef, it’s best to use a cut such as sirloin or filet mignon.
  2. Lay the slices of meat or fish on a plate or platter in a single layer.
  3. Drizzle the slices with olive oil and lemon juice, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
  4. Optional: Garnish the carpaccio with capers, chopped parsley, and shaved Parmesan cheese.
  5. Serve the carpaccio immediately, as the raw meat or fish will begin to oxidize and turn brown after a few minutes.

Carpaccio is known for its refreshing flavor, as well as its delicate and beautiful presentation. 

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