Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Steak tartare

This is something that I remember from my childhood, very popular party dish when I was a kid, for adults quite often served with a shot of very cold vodka. Couldn't quite grasp why people would eat raw meat, but once I got older I actually started to enjoy it. I think it was at least eight years since last time I ate it and then suddenly I had cravings for this dish last week.

Many Polish cooks would just mince fillet of beef. For me this is a crime. It is quite pricey, and by mincing it you destroy it's delicate texture. You may as well get cheap cut of lean beef and mince it, why do it to expensive fillet? Honestly I don't get it. So chop it finely, yet to the stage when you can still feel some texture under your teeth. Secondly, traditionally in Poland people would use onion, for me onion has too strong flavour and can overpower the flavour of beef. I use more subtle shallots. I would normally use diced pickled mushrooms but these are difficult to get hold of where I live, so I skipped them. I added cornichons and capers. I would advise to not to use strong flavoured oil, but something with a delicate flavour, mild olive oil or rapeseed oil. To enhance the beef flavour it is good to add some anchovies, and my last word: I never use mustard - I think it kills the meat flavour.  

So this is my take on this traditional dish.

Serves 2 

about 300g fillet of beef
1 small shallot (I used French variety, if British you need two)
2 medium cornichons (gherkins)
2 tbsp of salted capers
1 tbsp olive oil
2 small egg yolks (you can use quail eggs) 
4 anchovies (tinned or from a jar)
freshly ground black pepper

Slice beef fillet into about 3mm slices and then chop into small dice. You can go again with a knife over the chopped meat, but do it roughly. Add minced anchovies (mince it with a side of a knife or a fork), some pepper and mix, adjust the saltiness by adding some salt according to your taste, but remember this dish will get more salty when you mix it with capers.

Peel the shallot and dice finely. Dice the gherkins and rinse the capers thoroughly under a running water then drain and chop roughly.

Place cooking ring on a plate and place one layer of meat then one layer of gherkins or caper or shallots, then again layer of meat and layer of next ingredient. Finish off with a layer of meat and make a little well in the centre. Gently place egg yolk in the well and sprinkle with some pepper and salt (optionally). Make sure you save some gherkins, shallots and caper for the finishing touch.

Using oil make three lines across the plate and place some gherkins, shallots and capers in each line. Remove the ring and serve immediately with good bread and optionally with a shot of good quality very cold vodka.


  1. Some people are afraid of eating Steak Tartare because of the risk of getting infected with E. coli and Salmonella. But many health organizations have proven that, when basic hygienic rules are followed by the cook, and fresh meat is used, infection can be avoided. So for me, it still good to serve Steak Tartare as long as it is served properly. Your cooking looks great - as if it was prepared at a five-star restaurant!

    @Liz Peters


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