This simple, yet sophisticated Beef Carpaccio Recipe is made with thinly sliced raw beef, pickled shallots, capers, and fresh arugula. It’s a vibrant, no-cook Italian appetizer that pairs perfectly with an Aperol Spritz.Jump to Recipe
Italian beef carpaccio appetizer
This easy Beef Carpaccio Recipe brings the Italian restaurant into your own kitchen! It’s a flavorful starter that features paper-thin slices of lean beef served with Italian-inspired garnishes, like pickled shallots, arugula, capers, and parmesan.
Similar to Salmon Sashimi, beef carpaccio puts raw sliced meat on display. This way, the full flavors of the meat are enjoyed and even enhanced with the complimentary toppings. It’s a delicacy that can be intimidating to make and eat, but it’s surprisingly simple to put together and always a show-stopper!
What is a carpaccio?
Just think of carpaccio as the Italian version of Steak Tartare. It’s a popular starter or light lunch made with raw meat that’s been thinly sliced or pounded flat. Beef carpaccio is extra savory, but it’s also common to make it with veal, salmon, and tuna.
Is it safe to eat?
There’s always a risk when serving raw meat for appetizers, like carpaccio and salmon tartare. Cooking beef is the best way to ensure it’s free of bacteria and foodborne illnesses.
There are, however, easy ways to lower this risk, like buying top-quality beef from a reputable butcher and letting them know that you’re specifically using it to make carpaccio. They’ll make sure you’re getting the freshest beef possible.
Lastly, eat the beef on the same day as you buy it and keep it refrigerated as long as possible. This is not a dish to save for leftovers!
The most important ingredient is the beef of course! Start with a lean cut of beef, like beef tenderloin, sirloin, or top round. Keep it in the fridge or freezer right until it’s time to slice and serve.
The rest of the ingredients, including pickled shallots and Italian toppings, complement the flavor of the beef rather than overwhelm it. Here’s what you need:
- White wine vinegar
- Sea salt
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Parmesan cheese
- Lemon wedges
How to make beef carpaccio
Before you start, put your serving platter in the fridge so it’s chilled for serving. Slice the shallots and place them in a bowl of warm water to tone down their tart flavor. Drain, then place in a bowl with the vinegar and salt. Set them aside to pickle.
Cut the beef into 4 rounds and place each one in between two layers of parchment or plastic. Pound each piece with a mallet until they’re flat and thin.
Tip: Instead of pounding the beef flat, use a serrated knife to slice very thin pieces. Place the beef in the freezer 2 hours ahead of time so it’s easier to slice.
Place the flattened beef (still between parchment/plastic) back in the fridge until chilled (you can do this 5 minutes or several hours before serving).
To serve, remove the top layer of parchment/plastic and flip the meat onto the chilled platter. Discard the plastic and move the meat around in a circle or overlapping each other.
Top the sliced beef with the pickled shallots, capers, arugula, and chives. Add a sprinkle of salt, then a generous drizzle of olive oil. Finish with the grated parmesan and place more cheese and lemon wedges on the side. Serve immediately and enjoy!
More garnish ideas
You can think of this carpaccio recipe as a blank canvas. Mix and match the garnishes based on what’s in season or what you’re craving. Just remember: you want them to compliment the savory flavor of the meat, not hide or overwhelm it.
Feel free to swap any of the toppings with these suggestions instead:
- Pickled red onions
- Egg yolks
- Gremolata sauce
- Gorgonzola cheese
- Balsamic vinegar
- Lemon juice*
*Only season the beef with lemon juice right before serving. Any earlier and the acid will cook the meat.
Frequently asked questions
Beef tenderloin or top round are two of my favorite cuts of beef for carpaccio because they’re lean and mildly flavored. For a stronger flavor, use a fatty and tender cut, like sirloin, filet mignon, or ribeye.
Yes. Assemble the sliced meat on the plate a few hours before serving and cover a layer of plastic over top. Keep it in the fridge, then add the toppings and dressing right before serving.
I don’t recommend saving or eating the leftover carpaccio later on. For food safety purposes, it’s best to eat the beef on the day you buy it.
Looking for more Italian appetizers?
If you try this Beef Carpaccio Recipe let me know what you think! Rate and review this recipe in the comments below. Don’t forget to take a picture and tag me on Instagram @lenaskitchenblog!
Beef Carpaccio Recipe
- 1 small shallot thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt divided
- 6 ounces lean beef like beef tenderloin or top round
- 2 tablespoons capers drained
- ½ cup arugula leaves
- 1 ½ tablespoons chives finely chopped
- 1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
- 1 ounce Parmesan cheese shaved, for garnish
- 2 lemon wedges for serving
- Place a serving platter or 4 separate plates into the refrigerator to chill for serving.
- Peel the shallot, cut it in half and then slice with a sharp knife into thin slices. Place into a small bowl. Rinse in warm water, then drain and add white wine vinegar and ¼ teasppon of salt. Toss and let marinate for at least 10 minutes.
- Cut beef into four 1½-ounce slice rounds or about ½ inch thickness. Trim away any fat or gristle. Put each slice between 2 layers of heavy-duty plastic wrap or parchment. Gently pound beef flat with the flat side of a meat mallet to a thickness of about 1/16 inch and a diameter of about 6 inches. Refrigerate flattened slices for 5 minutes, until chilled (do not remove plastic). Tip: You can prepare up to this point several hours ahead. Just keep the meat refrigerated until ready to serve.
- To serve, peel top layer of plastic from each slice. Invert each slice onto a chilled platter. Peel away remaining plastic. You can slightly overlap them on the platter or serve on individual plates.
- Top each slice with pickled shallots, capers, arugula, and chives. Season each portion with salt and drizzle generously with olive oil. With a vegetable peeler, shave Parmesan into curls. Garnish with Parmesan and lemon wedges and serve immediately. Serve with bread or on its own.