Steak “tartare” is a true classic – by that of course I mean it has endless variations. In a standard steak tartare raw beef tenderloin is ground right before serving and mixed with some or all of the following: capers, mustard, oil, shallots, egg yolk, ketchup, cornichons, lemon juice, tabasco and Worcestershire. Though I had made it myself before travelling through France it wasn’t until I had sampled many different versions that I was able to hone in on what made a perfect steak tartare for me.
For me, there are two critical things in my favorite renditions, first the meat isn’t ground but rather cut with a knife to a larger size. Secondly, I don’t add anything sweet, that means no sweet pickles and definitely no ketchup. From a presentation stand point I also enjoy a formal presentation which showcases the glossy yolk-topped meat and allows people to adjust it to their own tastes.
It is of extreme importance when making steak tartare at home you use very fresh eggs and very fresh meat. Tell your butcher that you intend to serve it raw, and don’t just buy something that has been vacum packed at the supermarket. This is a very big portion for two people, so you could easily feed 3 or 4 people with this amount of meat, especially if you are serving it as an appetizer. That said, a full egg yolk will be too much – so find yourself some quail eggs and use those instead. Lastly, raw foods do pose a risk so use your own judgement of your health on whether this is for you or not.
Steak Tartare Recipe(serves 2-4)
First do all the prep, that includes mincing the shallots and capers, getting all your accompaniments on the table (mustard, tabasco etc) and slicing your baguette. This recipe should be done "ala minute", meaning right before you serve it, until then leave your meat and eggs in the fridge.
Five minutes before you are ready to eat, Remove the meat to a clean cutting board. Trim any suspect edges and discard. With a very sharp knife cut the meat into approximetly 3/4 cm cubes. Place in a clean bowl and toss with the olive oil and small amount of salt and pepper. Taste it to make sure it is lightly and appropriately seasoned.
For two people, divide in half and arrange each in a round small mound on a plate, forming a light intentation in the center for the egg yolk. Divide the shallots and capers in half as well and top each portion of meat with the shallots and capers. Using very fresh eggs, seperate the egg yolks from the whites, and set aside the white to use for another purpose, place one yolk on the top of each portion of meat and top with freshly ground pepper. If using cheese, surround the meat with cheese. Serve each portion with a good amount of baguette.
For four people, follow the same instructions above, except divide the meat in four, the shallots & capers in four, and plate with quails yolks instead of whole yolks.