In Canada, we were brought up with food presented in pre-packaged in the grocery store and the notion that everything must be cooked until we can be sure that no bacteria survived. If not, we would risk getting very sick. Meanwhile in Europe, people were happily eating meat that was pink in the middle or raw in the forms of carpaccio de boeuf and steak tartare …and not getting violently ill. Enjoying food because it was not overcooked. How appealing is sawing through a leathery piece of meat?
In Canada, while food warnings mounted (don’t eat raw eggs, unpasteurized milk or cheese and the like), our food was being raised in an increasingly commercial fashion and the link between the animal and the food products they become was rapidly disappearing. The animals are being fed things that we really should be scared about. More and more animals are housed in overcrowded conditions and force-fed things that they would not eat in their natural environment and that have to be supplemented with hormones and other chemicals in the name of commercial viability. I don’t think that we should label food “organic” but that we should put warning labels on all food that is not produced in a naturally.
I digress. For me “raw“ is not the issue – “unnatural” is.
I admit that I have never eaten “steak tartare”. In Paris, it is often served as a main course that seems to me to be too large a portion. Steak Tartare is ground or finely chopped steak (called filet américan in Luxembourg and Belgium) prepared with a combination of egg yolk, mustard, anchovy, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, pepper, oil, Cognac, onion, capers, pickles and parsley. On the other hand, the Italian specialty of raw or lightly seared, thinly sliced beef served with Parmesan cheese on a bed of arugula and drizzled with simple dressing of olive oil and lemon juice is delicious.
The name carpaccio is now also given to salmon and other fish that are thinly sliced and drizzled with an olive oil and lemon juice dressing. I have eaten carpaccio de saumon many times in Paris bistros as a starter.
This recipe uses white fish.
Carpaccio de bar
4 filets of bass (or other boneless, skinless white fish)*
125 mL (1/2 cup) olive oil
30 mL (2 Tbsp) dry white wine
Freshly ground white pepper
Fleur de sel**
Finely slice the filet of bass; place on a large platter and drizzle with olive oil and wine. Marinate for 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle with fleur de sel and pepper. Serve immediately.
*Salmon or smoked salmon slices can be substituted for the bass
**Fleur de sel are the delicate salt crystals raked from the top of salt marshes. Fleur de sel contains no additives and is naturally rich in minerals and lower in sodium than other salts. The most highly prized is Fleur de sel de Guérande from Brittany in France.