Lets talk about Steak Tartare

Monday, May 6, 2019 Food

 I am going to talk about Steak Tartare, I can remember as a child going to the butcher and having some raw ground meat seasoned with my step father, I was scared to try it at first, but after I got talked into it I decided it wasn’t half bad, The texture was something totally different and I couldn’t believe I was eating raw meat. This was my introduction to beef tartare.

What Is Steak Tartare?

 Steak tartare is a dish of finely chopped beef, served raw and mixed with any number of condiments but most commonly egg yolk, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, hot sauce, fresh herbs, and other seasonings. It’s often served with bread or toast of some kind, and is often  on restaurant menus as an appetizer. Any meat, fish, or even vegetable can be served “tartare” style but for the purposes of this articles is to focus on the original, Beef. 

A Brief History of Steak Tartare

 Tartare is said to have originated in the “Tartary” region of Northern Asia , as a quick and easy way for Mongolian and Turkish horsemen to make their not so fresh raw meat edible. Legend says  that the men would ride with flanks of raw beef, horse, and camel tucked under their saddles to tenderize it before giving it a fine chop or grind and mixing it up with eggs and milk to soften the undoubtedly terrible taste.

It was around the 20th century in the upscale hotels of Paris when the dish earned a more elite mark, and despite its Asian roots, has become as much a part of the French cooking cuisine as crème brûlée  Nowadays, you’ll find the dish, and variations of it, on menus in trendy eateries, classic French restaurants, and steakhouses.

Ingredients Needed for Steak Tartare

The most important ingredient to consider is, of course, the beef. Because it’s being served raw there is absolutely no excuse or substitute for a less than excellent product. If you have a trusty local butcher, that would be a great place to start. Let them know you are making beef tartare and that you need their freshest cut of beef tenderloin. Because there is no cooking involved, tenderloin is the preferred cut—mostly free of gristle with a rich and even texture, and tender, of course. But a good sirloin would also suffice if no tenderloin can be had. From there be sure you have a fresh egg yolk for binding along with herbs and other seasonings of your choosing. Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and good Dijon mustard are popular figures in beef tartare, as are fresh parsley, fish sauce, capers, and minced shallot.

Tips for Making Steak Tartare

Making beef or steak tartare is about as simple as you might think,  For starters, try to chill or even par-freeze the beef before starting so it is nice and cold when served, and easier to dice and work with.

From there, mince the beef with a well-sharpened chef’s knife. In my opinion, the finer the chop the better it works in this dish, but there is an argument for a chunkier tartare, too. Chopping the beef by hand is the traditional method but a meat grinder or food processor will also work. After that, gently mix the chopped beef in with the egg yolk and Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper, Dijon mustard, and herbs until evenly distributed. Finally, form the beef into like  a hockey puck-sized round circle using your hands.


How to Garnish Steak Tartare

The finished tartare can be served with toasted bread. Rye or French are popular choices for toast, just be sure it’s something sturdy enough to hold a heaping scoop of beef tartare without folding. Capers, or bright and salty cornichon (small pickled cucumber) pickles are good to cut through the rich beef and egg. The raw beef dish can also be served over a bed of greens or with a small side of french fries.


Safety Concerns

Because serving raw beef is a fairly uncommon practice people often want to know if it’s safe to eat. The short answer is, as long as you’re working with quality beef and you keep it refrigerated until serving, there is little cause for alarm when serving and eating beef or steak tartare. As with any raw food, there is a heightened possibility of foodborne illness so take a bit of extra precaution when selecting and preparing the beef for tartare.