I watched with excitement as the beautiful cut of lean beef disappeared in the top opening of the grinder, just to soon start to reappear in the form of tiny meat snakes from the holes at the bottom and fall right into the Butcher’s plastic glove covered hands. He turned and showed the product to me, holding it in both palms, and asked if he should go through it with the grinder one more time. ‘Hell yeah, you should!’ He ground the meat once more ensuring maximum fineness and slid this beautiful big ball of protein into a nylon bag to weigh it. 800 grams exactly. This is gonna be truly epic, I thought. After all, what other food suits real men better than raw meat?
As that’s what steak tartare is. A spicy chunk of raw tenderloin mixed with raw egg and spices, spread on toast, with raw vegetables as a side. Contrary to the popular opinion, the dish has nothing to do with the Tatar people or Central Asian cuisine, although we understand why most people find the various stories suggesting this connection more romantic and believable, however the boring reality is that it originates from French cuisine dating back to the 19th century. Despite this however steak tartare (in some places referred to as beef tartare or beefsteak tartare) is every bit as epic.
Ingredients for 6
- 800g tenderloin beef, cut into very small cubes or minced
- 2 egg yolks
- powdered paprika
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2-5 tbsp mustard
- French baguette
- green pepper
- 1 small onion finely chopped (to mix in the meat)
- onions, sliced (for side)
- red onions, sliced
- lemon slices
As for flavouring, there are many ways to do it. The above list of ingredients reflects our preferred method.
The easiest way is to get minced meat in the first place, but if you want to make the classic version you will have to put up with the trouble of cutting the meat into tiny little chunks instead, creating a somewhat coarse texture compared to minced meat. Either way, make sure your meat is from a reliable source. Get it from your local butcher, tell him what you are going to use it for, anything to ensure you get the good quality, fresh meat that is safe to consume raw.
Steak tartare is, in principle, extremely simple to prepare. You just mix the ingredients thoroughly. However the trick is to find the right balance between the various spices and other flavouring you use. We recommend using only a little bit of salt, a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper, 1 small, very finely chopped onion and 2-5 tbsp mustard (to taste). Mix those, and the 2 egg yolks with the meat then cover and refrigerate it. Let it blend for at least an hour.
Meanwhile, you can prepare the vegetables that will serve as a side. Thin slices of tomato, green pepper, onion and red onion will do it.
Finally, just before you take the mix out of the fridge, cut a baguette into slices 1-2 cm thick and toast them. Optionally you can toast them in a frying pan on molten butter. This is especially practical if the butter is cold and hard, as spreading it with a knife can be difficult in this case. Otherwise, just spread a thin layer of butter on the top of the toasted baguette slices.
Take the beef tartare out of the fridge and spread it on the fresh toast. Serve it on a plate with the sliced vegetables.
The alternative way
There is another way of serving this dish, if you want it to look a bit fancy. This method requires all those eating to be experienced steak tartare eaters, who are able to spice their meat according to their own preference.
Fill a small cup, inner sides slightly lubricated with oil, with raw meat to make a cylinder shape. Slide it out on the middle of a large, flat plate. Make a small depression on the top of your meat tower and place the egg yolk in it.
Organise all the spices, vegetables and other ingredients around the tower of meat or in separate, small cups. Be as creative with the composition as you like.
We recommend with it some black/thrash metal, such as Aura Noir from Norway (where else?). Enjoy!