Steak Tartare

Steak tartare has gone out of vogue, largely due to the efforts of the food terrorists (to use Julia Child’s expression) who say we should eat little beef and no raw proteins. Bushwah. Life is full of risks much worse than this one. Even people who don’t like the idea of eating raw beef often come around after they taste it. The dish (known in Europe as “beef Americaine” or “steak cannibale”) must be prepared to order. In restaurants, the classic style was to do it at tableside, but that’s become very rare (pun intended).

The seasoning of steak tartare is open to the tastes of the eater. However, certain ingredients should never find their way into a steak tartare. They include mayonnaise, ketchup, garlic, and any dried herbs. The salt should be kosher salt or sea salt, and the pepper should be freshly and coarsely ground. Both of the latter produce little grains of flavor in the midst of the beef.

The cut of beef is important. I go back and forth between tenderloin butts (which don’t make very good steaks) and top or inside round (not eye of round). Chop it yourself. You may also grind it, but that’s not classic. I would advise against buying pre-ground beef for this.

Steak tartare.

Steak tartare.

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 Tbs. chopped white onions
  • 3 Tbs. very small capers
  • 6 sprigs parsley, leaves only, chopped
  • 6 anchovies, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbs. Creole mustard
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp. Tabasco Caribbean style steak sauce (or Pickapeppa)
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 oz. tenderloin butt ends, or round steak

1. Combine everything except the beef in a large bowl. If you’re doing this at the table, a wooden salad bowl is best.

2. Slice the beef about a quarter-inch thick. Using a meat mallet, pound it until it becomes quite thin. Then chop it with a sharp French chef’s knife on a wooden cutting board.

3. Put the beef into the bowl and, with two large forks, blend the seasoning ingredients with the beef. Check the seasonings, and add salt and pepper as needed. Form the beef into a fanciful pattern on the plate for a dramatic effect. Or not.

Serves four to six appetizers or two entrees. (It’s also good as finger food on canapes; this recipe would make about two dozen of those.

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  1. Honey on September 11, 2014

    You’ve given all the ingredients to make a great streak tartar, except the quantity of beef.
    Please advise.

    • Tom Fitzmorris on September 11, 2014

      Hello, Honey (and do I feel funny calling you that). . .

      The amount of beef is the last item in the ingredients list:

      “12 oz. tenderloin butt ends, or round steak”

      Tastefully yours,
      Tom Fitzmorris