I'm sure you've heard the term "The perfect bite." There are books written about it. There are even chefs who have dedicated their lives to it. The perfect bite is a phenomenon where you experience all sensations in one single bite of a dish; Savory, sweet, acid, richness, heat, tenderness, and crunch all wrapped up in one. This is what I strive for in all of my dishes. Roast beef Carpaccio with thyme roasted grapes is a show stopper in my arsenal of recipes that accomplish this idea.
Carpaccio is a preparation of raw meat or fish pounded to a thin layer on a plate and garnished to serve. Raw is great but quite honestly, not my favorite thing to eat on any normal occasion. Thinly sliced left over roasted beef or sliced roast beef from your favorite deli is a great way to achieve the super thin layer of succulent meat for a Carpaccio. Best part is, you can take it right out of the fridge and layer right onto a plate! This is a great appetizer, lunch, dinner or single course of a multi-course meal.
The garnishes are what makes this dish. Sauteing the grapes in a little oil and thyme create a rich sauciness like no other. You've got freshness and a good bite from fresh arugula. Tanginess from lemon zest a light lemon olive oil dressing. (is tang'i'ness a word? You get it.) Crunch from radish slices. Salty umami from shaved Pecorino cheese. Forget talking about it... come on. Make it. Taste it. You'll see what I mean...
If you are making this for a crowd:
To save time, you can prepare the meat for your plates up to 24 ahead. To do this, lay out a peace of plastic wrap on top of the plate you want to serve on. Lay the beef in a single layer, over lapping a little bit to cover any bare spots of the plate. Cover the top of the meat layer with plastic wrap, pushing any air out that you can. Refrigerate the wrapped meat on a flat surface to keep its shape. Be sure to make the layer to fit the plate you want to serve on so it will look pretty and uniform. (Keep in mind the plate size will vary your portion size. Don't worry, the recipe is very easy to scale. I used a standard dinner plate.)
You may also prepare the blistered grapes up to 24 hours ahead. Let the grapes cool in the pan before pouring the grapes and pan juices into an air tight container and refrigerate. Let grapes come to room temperature before serving, or warm slightly. Slice the radishes thin and place in an air tight container covered with cold water. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Roast Beef Carpaccio
Roasted grapes, lemon, thyme, arugula, shaved parmesan, black radish, olive oil, flaked sea salt, and cracked black pepper
1/2 pound Roast Beef (thinly sliced)
8 oz Red Seedless Grapes
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (separated)
5 to 6 sprigs Fresh Thyme (I used Lemon Thyme from my garden)
1 to 2 cups Baby Arugula
1/2 cup shaved Pecorino Romano
1 medium Radish (I used black radish)
1 Lemon (zest and juice)
Flaked Sea Salt
Cracked Black Pepper
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saute pan. Cook grapes with 2 sprigs of thyme for about 5 minutes until deep in color and soft. Turn heat off and set aside.
Lay roast beef on large plates creating a single layer
Sprinkle on a layer of arugula on top of the beef
Pour all pan juices from grapes over the plate and scatter the grapes.
Garnish with shaved Pecorino, radish, thyme leaves, lemon zest, flaked sea salt, and cracked black pepper
Dress with remaining olive oil and a squeeze of lemon
Feel free to scale up to serve more than 2 people.
If making for a dinner party; Make the grapes ahead of time and store in refrigerator. Slice radishes and store in cool water in an air tight container in refrigerator. Lay out the roast beef on plates, cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in fridge up to two days prior. Garnish to serve.
Savor every bite :)