All of us have a fantasy vacation. Sitting on an exotic island beach, walking the streets of Paris on a spring day ... or, in my husband's case, going on an Alaskan cruise to experience the wonder of its natural beauty. We decided to go all out and signed up for a Silversea Cruise. I knew it had to be delicious!

Yes, I was looking for deliciousness, while my husband is looking for natural beauty. This was the way to experience both with very happy results. I never tired of looking at beautiful shards of blue ice in the ocean, along with steep layers of ice atop mountains. Think of it as frozen mountain rivers coming down and meeting the sea.

I also busied myself checking out each dining room. I must admit that we returned over and over again to one called La Terrazza, where fresh pasta and other Italian dishes were lovingly prepared. I was surprised when I discovered that Carpaccio was served using swordfish the first evening. Carpaccio is an appetizer of raw meat or fish that is thinly sliced and pounded very thin. I noticed that each time we returned, there was another variation of this dish on the menu. I particularly enjoyed the beef, octopus and swordfish versions.

When I asked why they had so many variations, Rudi Scholdis, Silversea's culinary director, explained: "Since Silversea has such a strong Italian heritage, Carpaccio is the ideal onboard appetizer and antipasti. It appeals to a wide variety of our international guests and is relatively easy to prepare (10 minutes or less). All of our carpaccio is freshly prepared onboard and served to guests soon after preparation."

Carpaccio fits into the Seriously Simple philosophy perfectly. It is made of fresh ingredients prepared simply and quickly. It is particularly appealing in the warm summer months since no cooking is required. If you are in a hurry, just use arugula and Parmesan cheese for garnishing. Remember, you can also use fresh tuna, salmon or veal. Enjoy!

Beef Carpaccio

Serves 6.

1 pound very fresh beef top sirloin, top round or strip steak, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices (ask your butcher to do this for you)

1/2 cup arugula leaves

6 cherry tomatoes, quartered

12 pitted black olives, halved

2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted

1/4 cup freshly shaved Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup fruity olive oil or favorite balsamic vinaigrette (see below)

Coarsely ground black pepper, to taste

1. Pound beef between two sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap until beef is paper thin, being careful not to tear the meat. Cut into pieces that can be draped over one another.

2. Carefully transfer 2 large pieces of meat to each of 6 individual serving plates.

3. Evenly sprinkle arugula in the middle of each plate. Garnish the arugula evenly with tomatoes, olives, walnuts and Parmesan cheese.

4. Drizzle olive oil or vinaigrette over arugula and beef, sprinkle pepper on top and serve immediately.