Monday, 8 August 2011

Never Too Much Meat - Steak Tartare

So much more than an un-cooked burger, I promise.
A thousand years ago, on holiday with friends in France, the four of us sat down in a little restaurant and had a look at the menu. When the garcon came to take our orders, my friend Jess confidently announced that she would like to order steak tartare, s'il vous plait. Risking patronising her, I asked her if she knew what it was, she nodded away, and we sat back to sip on our wine and nibble bread until the dishes were served. When a plate of what is essentially raw beef mince was presented to her, her face first paled, then her jaw dropped. She hadn't in fact known what it was, and it turned out she liked her meat cooked.

I however adore steak tartare, and so does my Dad so we made it on Saturday, as a starter for a BBQ. Just in case we didn't have a high enough meat content in the meal. This feeds four as a starter, do taste as you go because it's one of those dishes that doesn't require exact measurements. In a bowl, put 400g finely chopped fillet beef, a couple of finely chopped shallots, a tbsp each of chopped capers, cornichons, a tsp Dijon mustard, parsley and salt and pepper, and combine well. Make sure you taste for seasoning. Now assemble a little patty on each plate, using a mug as a cutter works quite well, and nestle in a raw quail's egg, who's shell you have delicately halved, not throwing any ruined ones in the bin.

Some people love it, some people can't get their heads round a plate of raw meat. I think its the business. However, on that day so many years ago in France, with Jess's poor little face in despair, the joke was on me, because I had ordered andouillette, without really knowing what it was either, and I nearly threw up all over the table. Bon appetite.

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