Steak Tartare

TartarSauceThe first time I tried steak tartare was at the Beach Plaza hotel in Monte-Carlo. I was twenty-one and I was having a brunch meeting with a very charismatic French client. He ordered for me. He was like that. I had no choice in the matter and waited with bated breath to see what he had ordered. The first thing that came out was a lovely surprise, a Bloody Mary. Then out came the steak tartare. Raw meat. I nervously placed a small bit on my fork and popped it in my mouth. It was a melange of some of my favourite flavours and I absolutely adored it. I still do. Thanks to Bernard that is.  The second story of my experience of Steak Tartare was a while later, with a member of my team and another client. This time in London. In a French restaurant in Finsbury Square, run then, by two brothers by the name of Roux. I ordered the fish, my client the chicken and Laurence? Laurence ordered the Steak Tartare.  I asked him if he knew what it was. He nodded and I trusted his answer. When it came out he gasped and said ‘ Where is the tartare sauce’ and ‘ This is raw’ So I swapped my delicious looking fish and once again enjoyed my steak tartare. So what of the origins of this recipe?

Steak tartare is a meat dish made from finely chopped or minced raw steak  It is often served with onions, capers and seasonings including mustard, fresh ground pepper and Worcestershire sauce, sometimes with a raw egg yolk, and often on rye bread. The name tartare is a term used  to describe other raw meat or fish dishes.

24482Although less common than the raw variety, there is a version served in France of steak tartare called tartare aller-retour. It is a mound of mostly raw steak tartare that is lightly seared on one side of the patty.The name is a shortening of the original “à la tartare” or “served with tartar sauce,” a dish popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The modern version of steak tartare with raw egg was first served in French restaurants early in the 20th century. What is now generally known as “steak tartare” was then called steack à l’Americaine. Steak tartare was a variation on that dish; the 1921 edition of Escoffier’s Le Guide Culinaire defines it as steack à l’Americaine made without egg yolk, served with tartar sauce on the side.  The 1938 edition of Larousse Gastronomique describes steak tartare as raw ground beef served with a raw egg yolk, without any mention of tartar sauce.

A variant of steak tartare called tartarmad is also present in Danish smørrebrød, where it is served on rugbrød (rye bread) with assorted toppings.In Germany, there is a very popular variant using raw minced pork called Mett or Hackepeter, which is typically served on rye bread or rolls, with the onions and pepper, but without capers or egg. In Belgium, steak tartare is served with fries. A variation of steak tartare, used normally as a sandwich spread, is known as “filet américain” (lit. American fillet) or “américain préparé”. It is mostly served with onions and more seasoning than a regular steak tartare. In the Netherlands, steak tartare is called Filet americain. There is also ‘Rundertartaar” (beef tartare), a chopped steak, but not served raw. Rather it is slowly browned in butter with salt, pepper and done when the center is thoroughly heated but remaining pink and moist. It is also served raw on bread with onion, mayo and hard boiled egg, this is called “een broodje tartaar speciaal” – a bun tartar special

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Recipe

Ingredients

  • 200g best quality sirloin steak
  • 3 finely diced shallots
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped capers
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped gherkins
  • 2 tsp of Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • A splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 free range egg yolk

Method

With a very sharp knife, cut the steak into a very small dice or alternatively mince it. Add the shallots, capers, gherkins, parsley, salt and pepper, mustard and Worcester sauce and mix well. Taste, and make sure it is appropriately seasoned. Arrange on a plate in a patty, make a hollow in the centre and place the egg yolk in. Serve with bread.

steak tartare

 

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5 Comments

  1. Love it. Quality is key. My “first” was at the St. James Club, Antigua. So quality expected. Not something that gets served up at the “low end” anyways. Have never attempted this at home but think now we will!

  2. The first time for me I was in Poland visiting friends, that must be at least 35 years ago. I do believe that capers are a very important ingredient. And it was served with an egg. I took one look at raw meat being served with raw egg and was about to say I think not, but everyone at the table had the same (no fish to switch out with) so I took a bite and was delighted. If I were to eat it now it would only be if I made it myself where I was sure of the ingredients as well as the choice of wine. I don’t see it on many American Restaurant Menus any longer. I think it is the meat scare and lack of trust because some would use regular chopped meat and that would never do.
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  3. So funny that Bernard didn’t know. Since I don’t care for raw meat I would not have switched with him though, but had him send his back to be cooked to his liking. I like my meats med. rare, but do want them to take a trip across the grill before I eat them first.

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