Carpaccio is one of the simplest, most elegant starters I can think of, and this lamb carpaccio adds a twist on the traditional serving of paper thin beef, by substituting lamb.
There are two ways to get lamb (or beef) that’s suitable for carpaccio. The first is to make friends with your friendly neighborhood butcher, and I recommend doing that for many reasons, if you can.
The second is to slice the meat yourself, which despite what you think, isn’t all that difficult. Be sure to have a very sharp knife (You do have a quality sharp knife, right?) and give chilled meat about 15 -20 minutes in the freezer right before slicing. Having a motorized meat slicer is even better, but unless you’re into making your own charcuterie, that’s no doubt overkill. When the meat is near (but not) frozen, slice across the grain and do it slowly and precisely.
This lamb carpaccio is dressed in the traditional way, with olive oil, a little lemon, capers and shaved parmesan. For fun, try a little lemon infused balsamic vinegar instead of the lemon juice, or serve with a dollop of tzatziki in the middle of the plate.
One other thing. In a lamb carpaccio (or beef), quality of ingredients is paramount, since you’re not seasoning or flavoring the ingredients. They have to stand on their own. That’s especially true of the meat and the olive oil, but it doesn’t hurt to use a great cheese, too.+
6-8 oz. very thinly sliced lamb (tenderloin or lean leg)
Extra virgin live oil (the best quality you can find).
Juice and zest from 1 lemon
1 Tbsp. drained capers
Shaved parmesan cheese (again, best you can find).
Place the sliced lamb on a serving plate in a single layer.
Drizzle lemon juice and olive oil over the meat.
Sprinkle the capers and lemon zest over the meat and garnish with shaved parmesan.
Chill for 15-20 minutes in the refrigerator.
Serve very cold.