Sunday, 12 February 2012

Steak Tartare

For me there an be few better seduction meals than steak tartare. Although the idea of raw beef and egg yolk might not seem like the classical choice for a romantic evening à deux, I find it rather can be rather alluring. Maybe it harks back to our hunter gatherer days, red in tooth and claw, or maybe it's just because it tastes bloody good. Whatever the reason a mound of hand-chopped steak with the appropriate accompaniments (and perhaps a little glass of vino tinto) is a simple and satisfying supper to make for a loved one. And if it's just you, or your date's not into uncooked cow/a vegetarian, then all the better - plenty of second helpings!

Beef fillet is the classic cut for a tartare. Sometimes shunned for lack of flavour, a good piece of fillet has a melt in the mouth texture which makes it ideal for this dish. Tail is cheaper than centre cut fillet, but if you want something even cheaper, and more 'beefy', then a well trimmed piece of eye of rump, sirloin or even bavette can be used. What ever you chose, make sure the meat is of the best quality possible and free of any fat and gristle.

There are many different accoutrements that can be served with your beef. Typically strong, punchy flavours are used to amplify the sweet, herbal and metallic qualities of the meat. I've specified my favourite combination below, but feel free to adjust to suit your tastes (chopped parsley is also good, providing a clean, grassy freshness). If you feel like showing off you can assemble tableside, or, if your serving it to several guests, provide little dishes of 'mix ins' so people can create their own. The egg yolk, stirred through on serving, provides a silky, buttery richness, but can be omitted if you prefer.

Steak Tartare
Serves 2

250g tail fillet (see above)
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tbsp capers, rinsed and finely chopped
1 tbsp gherkins, finely chopped
A few dashes Tabasco sauce
1/2 tsp Worsestershire sauce
1 tsp tomato ketchup
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 egg yolks (optional)

Salad leaves and chips, or toasted sourdough to serve

With a very sharp knife finely chop the steak as small as possible.
Mix the first eight ingredients together and season to taste.
Shape the beef into two equal patties and serve, with an egg yolk on top if using.

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