OK, the thought of eating raw meat was simply grotesque for me for a long time. Just a few years ago, I had enough courage to try this classic of French cuisine at a restaurant in Montreal, L’express. Steak tartare has probably been on their menu for decades, so it had to be excellent. And it was.
Steak tartare is much more than just eating raw meat. The seasonings are a crucial part of the experience. I like my tartare very seasoned, not necessarily with salt and pepper, but it has to have a kick. We had this dish in a restaurant a few weeks ago and it was so bland it was almost sad. We both had the same impression: that cook did not know what steak tartare was supposed to taste like.
Use the freshest meat available and never use already ground meat for this dish. I prefer when my meat is finely chopped and not ground. The texture is more enjoyable and that is usually how I have had it in the past.
I usually serve this as an appetizer, not a main dish but do as you wish. If you don’t want to be overwhelmed the first time around, serve it on a small toast and make it a bruschetta. One or two little bites along with the crunch of the bread and it is all gone. And if you are still not convinced, tell yourself that there is ketchup in this dish, so you know deep down it cannot be bad.
You will need:
For the sauce:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Tabasco sauce
5 tbsp diced red onion
3 tbsp cornichons, finely chopped
2 tbsp capers, rinsed and chopped
3 or 4 green olives, finely chopped
2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, grated
To complete the dish:
600 g filet mignon
1 quail egg per person (optional)
2 or 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Make the sauce: in a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the sauce above and keep in the refrigerator until ready to use. You can make the sauce a couple of hours ahead.
2. Just before serving, chop the beef with a very sharp knife in small pieces, no bigger than half a centimeter cubes. Keep the chopped beef in a bowl set over another bowl filled with ice water to keep the meat very cold.
3. When ready to serve, combine the meat with the sauce, add the olive oil, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings.
4. Immediately serve on individual plates, top with a quail egg if using along with toasted bread.
Serves 6 to 8 persons as an appetizer
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