Watermelon Carpaccio, Blistered Shishito, Mitsuba, Lime

watermelon carpaccio
Watermelon Carpaccio

Blistered Shishito Peppers, Mitsuba, Tiny Watermelon Balls
Radish Sprouts, Pistachio, Feta, Lime Vinaigrette, Korean Red Chili Powder, Lime Zest

The namesake of the Venetian Renaissance painter known for his use of brilliant reds and whites, “Carpaccio” was the inspiration for this summer treat. Giuseppe Cipriani, owner of Harry’s Bar invented the dish in 1950, the year of the great Carpaccio exhibition in Venice. It was inspired by the Contessa Amalia Nani Mocenigo, a frequent customer at Harry’s Bar whose doctor had placed her on a diet forbidding cooked meat. The original dish was simply paper-thin sliced raw beef topped with a mustard sauce. In the 63 years since its invention, the culinary term “carpaccio” has come to mean almost any dish composed of thinly-sliced raw food spread out on a platter.

In a challenge to make an elegant watermelon dish, I turn to carpaccio… plus mitsuba, a Japanese herb with a fresh, wild, sweet flavor similar to angelica which adds the herbaceous note. Then smoky grilled shishito balance the cool crisp watermelon. Radish sprouts add a pungent peppery characteristic. Just a little bit of feta adds richness and saltiness, while roasted pistachios add that nutty character. Gochugaru (Korean red chili powder) brings the heat and lime adds the bright citrusy notes. Elegant Watermelon? It’s possible.

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