M Cooks: Prove your culinary bravery by serving up a delicious dish of steak tartare.
Make a friend of your butcher, then indulge in a classic raw meat dish
Steak tartare is one of those classic dishes that you need to try at least once, even if the idea of raw meat is not your idea of an appetising thing to eat. Did you try raw (or even cooked) oysters yet as per my recipe a few weeks ago?
If you didn't then here's your chance to prove your bravery. Raw meat. I say go for it, although with one huge caveat. The steak tartare has to be of the best possible quality. And now that you have the recipe, how can it fail to be?
Well, very easily actually, unless you get the freshest meat you can possibly find. This is the absolute key. If the meat is not good, the steak tartare will be a disaster.
So go and see your favourite butcher, ask him for his best and freshest cut of beef and then ask him to grind it for you. He will think you're insane and tell you just to cook it lightly with a brush of olive oil and serve with chips, but explain that it's for a steak tartare and he'll do it with relish. Butchers love the idea of people eating raw meat, it's good for business.
This is not the sort of dish to cook for someone on a first date. Steak tartare is a statement, a dish with attitude, a meal that oozes confidence bordering on arrogance. And thus a dish that can often be misconstrued.
I once showed up at the home of a girl I was trying to impress with all the ingredients for a knock-out steak tartare in my knapsack only to discover that she was vegetarian. As you can imagine, the relationship went no further. She didn't even want to try my pickled pearl onions.
So make steak tartare for only fellow carnivores with whom you have an easy-going and comfortable relationship. And who you know you won't offend by offering them raw meat with some raw egg in it and a bit of Worcestershire sauce on the side! Or if you can't find any mates to eat it with, invite your butcher to share it with you. He'll be delighted and he might even give you a discount on the beef.
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Make It Yourself
Black Angus steak tartare
400g Black Angus beef tenderloin, ground 60g shallot, minced
50g gherkin, minced
30g capers, drained and minced
5g chives, minced
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt to taste
Cracked black pepper to taste
Tabasco sauce to taste
4 quail egg yolks
1/2 small head frisée lettuce
20 pickled pearl onions
1. Mix the first eight ingredients in a bowl and season with the salt, pepper and Tabasco.
2. Mould the tartare into four portions, place each on a plate and garnish with a quail egg yolk, torn-up frisée lettuce and five pickled pearl onions.
Best served with Melba toast or toasted brioche. Serves 4.
Pickled pearl onions
375ml white vinegar
8-10 black peppercorns
20 pearl onions, peeled
1. Bring the vinegar and water to a boil. Add the peppercorns and dissolve the sugar in the liquid.
2. Place the peeled pearl onions into a container large enough to hold the onions and liquid.
3. Pour the hot liquid over the onions, cover and refrigerate until cool.
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