Kingfish carpaccio; a dish I would certainly eat everyday throughout summer if I could! It’s light, clean, and it’s naturally sweet flavoured flesh serves perfectly raw as sashimi, sushi, ceviche, or as I do here; carpaccio!
When I hear the word “carpaccio”, I think of antipasti served at daggy Italian weddings of the 80’s held at daggy reception halls of dark coloured brick exteriors! I don’t know why it was necessary for me to mention the colour of the brick, however, it is a vivid visual in my memory box, and therefore, worthy of a mention!
Traditionally, carpaccio was served using raw red meat. Over time, it has be served as an Italian appetiser consisting of meat or fish (such as beef, veal, venison, salmon, tuna, swordfish, kingfish), thinly sliced, and presented raw. It often includes the juice (acid) of citrus fruits (as well as tomatoes as I use in this recipe!) to sightly “cook”, along with a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and typically finished with capers and onions.
I love the story behind the naming of ‘carpaccio’; it came about in the 1950’s when a Venetian restaurateur named Giuseppe Cipriani, first made the dish for the Countess Amalia Nani Mocenigo, whose doctors had recommended she eat raw meat. Cipriani was a serious art lover & admired the style and bold colours of the painter – Vittore Carpaccio. Thus the artist’s surname ‘Carpaccio’ was used; reminiscent of the intense red colour of raw meat.
I remember carpaccio being served as an antipasto (perhaps at those weddings of taffeta puffed sleeved dresses with frizzy permed hair) with thin beef slices macerated in olive oil and lemon and then drizzled with zigzag lines of thin mayonnaise. Nowadays, I’ve seen carpaccio on modern Italian menus employing a variety of ingredients: thin slices of zucchini, scallops, beetroot, and even figs. Evidently, the options are limitless, however, my preference is a fish carpaccio; particularly kingfish carpaccio!
I adore kingfish – not cooked, but raw! It has a soft and buttery texture when served fresh from the sea! But when cooked, it turns firm and grainy. In saying that however, with the use of an acid (such as from lemons, oranges, white wine vinegar, and even tomatoes) you will “cook” the fish ever so slightly. And it is because of this, that it is important to dish up the carpaccio of fish (with the acid dressing) as soon as you wish to eat it! If the fish settles in the acid for a good period of time, then you will be eating firm, unpleasant kingfish!!
I scatter the top with diced pieces of red long chilli, thin slices of peppery radish and watercress leaves, but truly you could use any other produce that you enjoy & feel will work well with a sweet, clean flavoured raw fish; that is kingfish! My hubby has served it with ginger, a little soy sauce and lime wedges for an asian take. I would also imagine freshly cut orange segments along with dill & a cream fraiche wasabi to be mouthwatering!
I suggest, if you are stuck for dish to start your Christmas lunch, then consider this light, fresh, summery (daggy! ha!) antipasto of ‘kingfish carpaccio’!
1 to 2 kingfish fillets, skin & bones removed (can also substitute with sea bass or swordfish)
8 cherry tomatoes
Juice of 1 to 2 lemons, strained
1 red long chilli, seeds removed, cut into thin strips
4-5 tblsp of extra virgin olive oil
2-3 red radishes, thinly cut slices
A good handful of watercress leaves
Pinch sea salt & cracked black pepper
Extra lemon wedges
- Place the kingfish fillets down on board and using a long-bladed knife, cut the slices as finely as you can along the whole length of the fillet. Place the slices side by side of a large platter (white would work best visually here).
- Squeeze the juices and a little pulp from the cherry tomatoes all over the thin slices of kingfish. (NOTE: the acid from the tomatoes will slightly ‘cook’ the fish). Be careful too - the tomato juice squirts everywhere! Drizzle with the juice of the lemons, add the thin slices of red chilli, and add the thin slices of radish.
- To end, drizzle all over with the extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with a good pinch of sea salt and cracked black pepper, scatter over with the thin slices of radish as well as leaves of watercress. Add wedges of lemon for additionally juice.