We love carpaccio, the classic Italian dish made with sirloin beef pounded so paper-thin that it practically melts in your mouth. Laced with shavings of Parmesan, peppery arugula and a squeeze of lemon, it's an ideal first course—both rich and bracing.
We decided to give the dish a little makeover, going with lamb instead of beef. The grassiness and slightly gamey flavor of the meat pairs well with shallots, buttery lucques olives, jammy figs, a few herbs and a heavy dose of lemon zest.
To learn more, read "Thin Is In."
Lamb Carpaccio with Figs, Green Olives and Mint
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 40 minutes, plus chilling time
Cook Time: N/A
Total Time: 40 minutes, plus chilling time
For the Sauce:
1 egg yolk
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 whole salt-packed anchovy, soaked, drained and filleted in half (optional)
Juice from ½ a lemon
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon capers
1 tablespoon water
Salt, to taste
For the Carpaccio:
1½ pounds lamb top round, trimmed of all fat, sinew and gristle, and cut into ¼-inch slices, chilled
1 small shallot, very thinly sliced
¼ cup finely chopped green olives, preferably lucques olives
6 figs, halved and thinly sliced
¼ cup loosely packed tarragon leaves
¼ cup loosely packed mint leaves, thinly sliced
Zest from 1 lemon
Pinch of Marash pepper or cayenne pepper
1. Make the sauce: Add the egg yolk to a blender. With the motor running on high speed, begin adding the oil a few drops at a time. Once the mixture begins to thicken, add the rest of the oil in a slow stream. Add the anchovy, lemon juice, mustard and capers and continue to process until you have a smooth sauce. Transfer to a small bowl and whisk in the water. Season with salt. Set aside until ready to use.
Note: The aioli can be made the day before; cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Bring it to room temperature before serving.
2. Make the carpaccio: Place one piece of lamb in between two pieces of parchment paper. Using the flat side of a mallet or a small heavy bottomed pot, gently pound the meat into ⅛-inch thickness. Remove the top parchment paper and invert the lamb onto a chilled plate. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
3. To serve, arrange the meat in a single layer around the plate, then drizzle some of the sauce over each piece. Top with the shallots, green olives, figs, tarragon, mint and lemon zest. Sprinkle with pepper and fleur de sel and drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately.