Steak tartare is classic French bistro food -- simple, elegant and understated. But quality, lean beef and a few well-chosen garnishes are only part of what you need to re-create the tartare from your favorite Parisian bistro at home; you also need food-safety controls. The first is temperature; you have to keep tartare under 40 degrees Fahrenheit -- the threshold under which bacteria can't multiply. You don't want to introduce bacteria to the beef, either, so wear food-handler gloves when making tartare, or scrub your hands like a surgeon before you do.
Things You'll Need
- Chef's knife
- Meat grinder (optional)
- All-purpose bleach
- Top round or eye of round
- Condiments, such as capers and shallots
- Eggs (optional)
Setting Up for Safety
Soak the blade of the chef's knife, a spoon and, if using, a meat-grinder attachment with a medium die, in a mixture of 1 tablespoon of bleach and 1 gallon of cool water for 1 minute. Air-dry the knife, spoon and grinder and place them in the refrigerator.
Rinse the beef under cold running water for a couple of minutes and drain it on a plate lined with paper towels. Pat the beef dry with paper towels.
Transfer the beef to a shallow dish and coat it with kosher salt until covered on all sides. Let the beef sit in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Rinse the salt from the beef and let the excess water drain from it for a minute. Set the beef in a shallow dish and blot up the surface moisture with a paper towel.
Chill the beef in the freezer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Fill a large bowl about 1/3 of the way to the top with ice and set a stainless steel or glass mixing bowl in it.
Transfer the beef to a cutting board. Slice the beef into 3/4- to 1-inch pieces.
Chop the beef until coarse; you don't want a paste, but you don't want chewy chunks, either. If using a grinder, grind the beef using the medium die. Transfer the beef to the mixing bowl set over ice as soon as you chop it or grind it.
Season the tartare to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix the tartare and chill it in the refrigerator while you prepare the condiments.
Mince half a shallot and portion a tablespoon or so of capers for each serving of tartare. Provide small portions of herbs, sauces and garnishes so your guests can finish their tartare to taste. A simple vinaigrette, a good olive oil and a quality mustard all work as sauces; substitute anything piquant, such as pepperoncini or cherry peppers, for capers; include freshly chopped parsley to round out the flavors.
Form the tartare into a disc or discs that measure about 1/2 inch thick. Make one large disc if serving family style, and smaller individual discs if serving individually.
Make a shallow well in the top of each tartare disc with the bottom of a spoon and pour a yolk from a pasteurized egg in it. Egg yolks are classic, but entirely optional; they serve as a simple, fatty sauce and add creaminess to the lean beef.
Tips & Warnings
- If you're serving family style, place each condiment in neat, individual mounds around the tartare on a large carving board. If serving individually, place the tartare in the center of a plate or small carving board and place a spoonful of each condiment around it.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends cooking ground beef to 160 F.
- Pregnant and nursing women, children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems shouldn't eat steak tartare.
- Photo Credit Lisovskaya/iStock/Getty Images
How to Make Salmon Tartare
A tartare is a dish of chopped and lightly seasoned raw meat or fish usually served alongside slices of crisp toast. When...
How to Make Beef Tartare
Beef tartare, also known as steak tartare, is a dish made of finely chopped raw beef seasoned with salt, pepper and herbs....
Unusual French Foods
The French people, while known for their love of wine and cheese, also enjoy dishes that seem unusual to the American palate....
Spicy Tuna Steak Recipe
Tuna is a healthy fish that can be purchased in steak form. There are many different recipes you can use to spice...