Am I the last person to read “A Discovery of Witches” by Deborah Harkness? I feel like I have been hearing about it forever, but I just now picked up a copy. Fabulous! I thought vampires and witches were completely passé at this point, but here is the book to prove me wrong. Diana Bishop is a witch: the honest-to-goodness kind, descended from Salem’s own Bridget Bishop. She hates it, and uses as little magic as possible in her scholarly pursuits as a historian of alchemy (yeah, it makes more sense in the book). Then she accidentally uncovers an ancient manuscript long-sought by the magical world. Suddenly, she is surrounded by witches, vampires, and daemons, all interested in the book, all interested in Diana, and many of them in an unsavory manner. But wait! Here’s Matthew Clairmont: vampire, scientist, and hottie to the rescue! In yet another departure from traditional Dracula lore, Matthew is a wine fanatic who also enjoys raw food as well as blood. When Diana and Matthew first dine together, they enjoy venison carpaccio with beet salad, berries, and chestnut biscuits. Sadly, my chestnut biscuits were a disaster. Also, I don’t like venison. Or beets. So here is my version of:
A Discovery of Carpaccio
6-8 oz fresh filet mignon
1/2 sprig of rosemary
Couple handfuls baby spinach
1/2 head of red-leaf lettuce
Juice of 1 lemon
Extra virgin olive oil
Real Parmesan, or Parrano cheese
8 oz Mixed berries
2 Tb raw sugar
2 Tb Balsamic vinegar
If you are comfortable with your farmer and butcher, just slice your beef thinly raw and proceed. Otherwise, coat your filet in salt, pepper, and chopped rosemary leaves. Put a small pan on really high heat, add a glug of oil, and sear very quickly on all sides. When I say quickly, I mean 15-30 seconds on each side. If your pan is hot enough, that will caramelize the outside without cooking the interior. Set aside to rest.
Tear or chop the lettuce and spinach and toss in a bowl with the lemon juice and another glug of olive oil. Add a pinch of salt, and as much pepper as you like. Toss.
Toss the berries in the sugar and balsamic, and set aside while you finish the carpaccio.
Thinly slice the beef with a very sharp knife and arrange on 2-3 plates. Add a sprinkle more of salt and pepper, and an olive oil drizzle for good measure. Heap on the salad, and grate cheese over it all. Serve with the berries, which at this point should look bloody enough for a vampire. Provide lots of wine.