Steak Tartare is one of those foods that intimates a lot of people at first, but once you've tried it you'll be hooked for life. With a little help from some adventurous dinner companions, I've tried bison, horse, beef heart, and regular steak tartare at restaurants around the city, but I have to say that this homemade version is the best one I've tasted yet. You'd think that, for a first-timer, steak tartare would be as intimidating to prepare as it is to taste, but it's actually one of the simplest and quickest little meals to whip up. Why not give it a try and impress your friends with your adventurous palette and haute-cuisine culinary skills?
8oz filet mignon
1-2 savoury cornichons
1 tbsp capers
1 tbsp red onion or shallots
1-2 tsp fresh tarragon
1 tbsp olive oil
3-4 dashes worcestershire sauce
1 tsp chill oil (to taste)
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 egg yolk
pinch of sea salt & black pepper (to taste)
toast, baguette, or crostini
A secret about this recipe is that we didn't actually measure anything. The quantities above are more like guidelines. For most ingredients, you'll see the exact amounts we used in the photos below. Feel free to adjust according to your tastes.
To make your own crostini, just slice up a baguette into thin discs.
Brush with olive oil and toast on a cookie sheet at 350ºF.
While your bread is doing its thing, get started on slicing up your meat. It's important to get a really good and flavourful cut of steak; after all, the fresh taste of the meat is really the main event. Skip the grocery store and head to a real old-fashioned butcher-shop and let them know that you're planning on making a tartare. They'll be sure to guide you in the right direction and cut the steak so that it's a fresh as can be. If you're looking for a nice butcher-shop in West End Toronto, check out this post.
The steak here is chopped into larger-than-average pieces for a tartare. I like it this way because your teeth can really sink into the meat and you get a fuller texture and flavour, but you can dice it much smaller if you prefer.
Dice up some cornichons.
Squash some capers.
Throw it all together.
Do the same with your tarragon. Tarragon has a wonderful anise-like flavour, but it can be overpowering so start with just a little bit.
So far, so good.
Slice and dice some red onion or shallots. Are you noticing a pattern in the preparation yet?
Add in your olive oil, chill oil, and worcestershire sauce.
Followed by the mustard and egg yolk.
Finish with a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Mix, mix, mix!
And you're done! See, wasn't that easy!? Tartare is really just about dicing, mixing, and good quality ingredients. You can get fancy and pack the tartare into a ring-mold to create a nice presentation, but we kept it casual and spooned it straight from the bowl onto our toasts.
What do you think? Have I sold you on the raw food movement?