Sunday 15 March 2015

Steak Tartare

How do you like your steak cooked? If your answer is “Rare” you might like this next post. If your answer is “Well done” you probably won’t!
This past week, with some heat in the Irish sun (at last!) I’ve been itching to get back to France, but I think it will be a little while before I get my fix.

Plage de Gigaro
So today, as a treat to myself, I decided to transport myself to France (metaphorically!) and make a dish I always enjoy under the balmy French sunshine, al fresco, sipping a glass of Rose - steak tartare.
But I’ve never made this dish at home before, would it be as good in my Irish kitchen as it is in the south of France? Lets see…
In order to replicate the dish exactly my quest for the perfect steak tartare started yesterday in Fallon & Byrne.

Where I picked up two beef fillets.

And a quick coffee!

I took inspiration from two recipes - the main recipe is from the cookboook ‘Hawksmoor at home’ by Huw Gott, Will Beckett and Richard Turner (available from amazon), and some tips on how to prepare the meat from the website  food52.


You will need:
  • 250g (9oz) fillet of beef, carefully trimmed of all surfaces
  • 1 small banana shallot, very finely diced
  • 4 cornichons, very finely diced
  • 1 tbsp capers, very finely diced (rinse first if salted)
  • ½ tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • Tabasco, about 15 drops, to taste
  • Maldon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1 portion of beef dripping chips to serve
How to make it:

To start, use well-aged beef fillet and slice off all of the exterior, which can harbour bacteria (these are usually all killed off when the meat is cooked).
Next two very important things - firstly, pour yourself a glass of rosé! And secondly, use different chopping-boards for exterior-slicing and for chopping so the bacteria won’t be transferred to the finished dish.

Right, now you’re ready to start chopping!

Start by cutting very thin slices of fillet across the grain with a good sharp knife. Finely dice the beef into 2–3mm pieces. You can also mince the beef but as not many people (including me) have a mincer sitting at the back of their press I just finely chopped the fillet.
In a medium sized bowl add the shallot, cornichons, capers and parsley.

Stir together with the chopped fillet.

Then add the ketchup and Tabasco sauce.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, but remember both capers and ketchup have quite a bit of salt in them, so taste as you go along.
Press the steak tartare mixture into a circular mould and refrigerate until firm, about 10 - 15 minutes.
On a plate or board remove the mould, crack the egg neatly and separate the yolk from the white. Tip the yolk on top of the tartare.

Serve with beef-dripping chips, some more capers, shallots, cornichons, a jar of good dijon mustard and a glass of rosé.

To eat, mix the egg yolk into the steak tartare with a fork, and add any of the garnishes you like.
Verdict - it tasted absolutely amazing, the only thing it was missing was the warm sun on my face and a sea breeze.

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