So to round out the end of our look at some raw dishes, how about the classic steak tartare? So I did a little digging into the background on this dish. I had always thought it had something to do with the Tatar people of Central Asia, and how they were so fierce in battle that they didn’t take time to cook their meat, they would just travel with it under their saddles so that the meat was tenderised enough by riding that it could just be eaten raw between bouts of fighting. Apparently this is a kitchen urban legend and the dish really has nothing to do with them at all.
Now here is where it gets a little confusing. The original recipe, which was quite popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries, was served “à la tartare” or “with tartar sauce”, and really wasn’t anything like our modern day steak tartare. In the early 20th century, they came out with a variation on this recipe called “Steack à l’Americaine” which resembled what we are more familiar with, raw ground beef and raw egg. Over time, the distinction between the two dishes disappeared, with the name from one and the recipe from the other sticking around.
2 pounds trimmed beef rib-eye roast
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 egg yolks
⅓ cup canola oil
6 tablespoons salt-packed capers, rinsed, drained, and minced
3 tablespoons minced parsley*
1 ¾ tablespoons Worcestershire sauce**
½ teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco
5-6 cornichons, minced
1 small yellow onion, minced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
french fries, for serving
mixed salad greens, for serving*
toast points, melba toast, crackers, for serving
Place beef in the freezer to firm, about 30 minutes; this will make it easier to chop finely. Meanwhile, whisk mustard and egg yolks in a large bowl; while whisking constantly, slowly pour in oil to create a mayonnaise.
Add capers, parsley, Worcestershire, hot sauce, cornichons, and onion, and season with salt and pepper; refrigerate flavourings until ready to use.
Remove beef from freezer and cut into ¼ inch cubes. Transfer beef to bowl of flavourings and stir to combine. Keep beef mixture chilled until ready to serve.
To serve, divide beef mixture into 4 to 6 equal portions, and shape each into an oval disk, or you can get fancy and use a cookie cutter or tin to shape your tartare. Serve immediately with toast points, crackers, fries and greens.