How raw can you go? The nomadic Mongol group going by the name of Tatars (or Tartars) had this habit of tenderizing meat under their saddles, then eating it raw — it is said. They left us names like the worldwide famous steak tartare, which is said was originally prepared from horsemeat. I don’t know for sure if the legend holds some truth, but what I do know for sure is that this French classic can be a true indulgence: made from quality ingredients, really well seasoned and paired with the perfect wine, my kind of raw food!
And, in all honesty, I must confess I do not hesitate indulging in it every time I’m in Paris. As a matter of fact, this is one of the things I take a special pleasure in, trying, tasting and testing it almost obsessively. This means an endless quest for the most exquisite knife-cut steak tartare all across Paris, which sometimes makes me look a bit like an insatiable mongolian barbarian, but with a nicer, more innocent look. Do you take the steak tartare again? Don’t mind if I do.
Because steak tartare is, in my opinion, one of those dishes I enjoy the most when dining out. That is, when made by others and served to me. However, channelling my inner Tatar, here’s my version of it, made by myself and served to others.
First things first: 250g of beef (top round or tenderloin, best quality one can get, as when serving raw meat freshness is a must) hand chopped au couteau – as the French would say — an almost therapeutic process. The raw meat is then mixed with a finely chopped shallot, gerkins and a handful of capers, and seasoned with sel de Guerande, pepper, and a few drops of Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce. I like to enrich everything with a truffled homemade mayonnaise, lightly toasted irregular bread, microgreens and a glorious egg yolk, cured in a mixture of salt and sugar for an hour and a half.
Traditionally, the classic steak tartare is served with french fries — I wouldn’t even think about leaving it out, but if you do, that’s entirely your option. Don’t skip the wine, tough. Your Tatar alter-ego would be really dissapointed.