Odds are that if you stumbled upon this recipe, you’ve had carpaccio before. Carpaccio is an amazingly tasty, smooth dish of raw meat – usually beef, but I’ve heard of fish being used too – where the meat is pounded or sliced extremely thin, topped with an oil/balsamic mix, microgreens or tasty lettuce, capers, and Parmesan cheese. Crusty bread is usually served along the side, and at restaurants, you usually see it as an appetizer.
Because the meat is served raw, I would only eat it from a very trusted source or restaurant (and only after being frozen first). I wouldn’t be asking for this dish from a place considered a dive, but a place that sells finely aged meats – while still serving tasty food on the side – that would be the place for me. The other place I’d trust to serve carpaccio, of course, would be my own kitchen; however, I’m not trusting this meal with just any grocery store meat. The more I know about the meat I use, the better, which makes it a perfect dish for elk or venison that we hunted hunted and processed. I know exactly how the meat went from field to table, and makes it a safe choice for carpaccio – elk carppacio.
Disclaimer: Before Diving in with Carpaccio
It’s important to note that if the animal was gut shot – this isn’t the dish to start experimenting with. The elk should have been a clean shot. You’ll also want to know that none of the glands were punctured during the processing of the meat. The bacteria in glands, like the tarsal gland, can be poisonous to humans. Scary, stuff. With that said, if you or your butcher properly process the animal, you’re safe (you shouldn’t be cutting into glands, anyway). Also, to play it safe, always freeze the meat first to help get rid of any potential bacteria (the same you’d do when making sushi – pre-frozen fish is always safer).
If you want a better safety precaution here, those outside tenderloins are usually pretty safe for this dish, because they’re not around the internal organs. As a rule of thumb, my husband and I won’t eat carpaccio if we happen to have our meat processed from a butcher. For the most part, we do our own, so it’s not an issue, but somewhere along the way, the superstition came that getting it done by a butcher, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting YOUR meat back. It could be a hodge-podge of meat; meaning, you could be getting a gut shot from someone else’s kill. That’s too risky for us, so we only do carpaccio with the meat that we process ourselves.
This is not to say that you don’t necessarily get YOUR meat back and that butchers are evil. Heck, no, they’re amazing. And although we rarely use them to process our meat, when we do, we don’t do carpaccio out of the meat…. just playing it safe.
Trying to Explain Elk Carpaccio, er, a Shallot
When I was preparing for this meal, I was collecting my other ingredients from the grocery store and the lady at check-out said, “What do you use a shallot for?” I said, “Well, if you’re asking that, I’ll really confuse you with what I’m planning on making with it.” I told her that I was preparing elk carppacio for dinner. Of course she was interested in learning more, but was hesitant. I was hesitant too; I mean, I’m about to explain that I’m planning on eating raw meat. That’s completely normal in my world, but can come across a bit carnivorous to others. And, of course, as soon as I said raw meat, I could see I lost her focus. I told her what a shallot was, what flavor to expect, and left with a nice, “You have a great day.”
Can We Prep This Already?
If you’re still with me, odds are the thought of raw meat, especially raw beef, elk, or venison, doesn’t bother you. So, without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, here’s our family elk carpaccio recipe. It’s simple; but, oh, so devine!
- 1 lb Elk Tenderloin Make sure meat is Pre-Frozen
- 1 cup Arugula
- 1/2 cup Olive Oil
- 2 cloves Garlic Diced
- 1 dash Kosher Salt To Taste
- 1 dash Cracked Pepper To Taste
- 2 tbls Capers Drained
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 loaf Baguette
- 1 drizzle Truffle Oil Optional
- 1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar Reduction Optional
- To make it easier to slice the elk meat thin, freeze it in the freezer for about an hour to firm it up.
- When you’re ready to slice the elk meat, make sure you have a really sharp knife, and work to slice the meat to about 1/8″ thin – paper thin. If you can’t get it thin, you can always thin it out with the flat side of a mallet or with a rolling pin. I’ve tried using a mandoline before, but it only really works if the meat is almost frozen. When it’s the thinness you like, lay the slices out on a paper towel covered plate (the paper towel helps soak up any blood). You’ll be filling the entire plate with meat. I serve on 4 different plates when I make this for dinner, so I’ll divide the meat slices between 2 plates and place each of them in the refrigerator as I continue on to the next steps.
- Slice the baguette and place on a baking sheet. Spray the bread with oil or butter. Place in 350 degree F oven and cook for 5-8 minutes on one side.
- Mix the arugula, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
- Get the elk meat out of the refrigerator and put a clean, serving plate on top of it. Turn both plates upside down to transfer the meat to a clean plate and remove the paper towel. If you’re serving on 4 plates, like I mentioned above, divide each portion in half and move over to a second plate.
- Top the meat with the arugula mix. Sprinkle with capers and Parmesan cheese.
- Add a bit of truffle oil and balsamic reduction, if you’d like, and serve this up with your crusty bread slices.