How to make classic beef tartare

It’s full of flavour, protein, and vitamins, so why aren’t we eating more tartare? Likely because we only order this delicacy at our favourite bistro. But home cooks shouldn’t be intimidated by this raw meat dish. With a few key tips, you can make restaurant-quality tartare recipes at home.

How to make classic beef tartare

Photo Credit: iStock.com/ Yaruniv-Studio

Where did tartare come from?

You might wonder about the first brave soul who dined on a plate of raw meat. How did that ever become a thing? According to the Michelin Guide, what we now call beef or steak tartare first popped up in Parisian bistros in the early 1900s. Then it was known as Beefsteack à l'Americaine, until chefs began to serve it with a side of tangy tartar sauce. Today, we also use the name for salmon and tuna tartare and even vegetable tartare recipes, but all variations share the same creamy texture and rely on tangy, and sometimes spicy, seasoning to enhance the simple flavour of the main ingredient.

A word about food safety

Raw beef or fish that isn't prepared properly can bring on a nasty foodborne illness. However, you’ll need just two things to ensure your homemade tartare is both delicious and safe to eat: extremely fresh meat or fish that’s kept refrigerated until you’re ready to eat it. Visit a trusted butcher or fishmonger and be sure to indicate that you plan to eat your purchase raw.

And, be sure to never use ground beef for tartare. Ground beef has the wrong texture for a good steak tartare, and should be cooked to at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit before it can be eaten safely. Now here’s how to enjoy beef tartare at home.

Classic Beef Tartare

Recipe yields 1 portion

INGREDIENTS

  • 150 grams fresh lean beef steak, such as sirloin or blade steak
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 minced shallot
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard

GARNISHES

  • Toasted baguette, sliced on the bias
  • Capers
  • Cornichons

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Rinse steak and dry it well. Cover entirely with salt and refrigerate for 1-2 hours maximum. Rinse the salt from the steak and dry it again.
  2. Freeze the steak for 15 minutes to enable easier slicing. Then trim off any fat and divide into ? cup portions.
  3. Using a very sharp knife, cut the steak into very thin slices. Stack a few slices at a time and cut thinly crosswise. Finally, stack strips again and dice crosswise, to create fine cubes.
  4. Add the oil, vinegar, parsley, salt, and pepper to a large bowl and mix well. Then add minced beef and stir to blend flavours. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
  5. Refrigerate tartare until ready to eat. Meanwhile, prepare a serving plate with toasted baguette, cornichons, capers, minced shallot and Dijon mustard.
  6. Remove tartare from the fridge and gently press into a ring mold (a burger press or cookie cutter will also work). Unmold the tartare onto the serving plate. Press a small indent into the centre of the tartare and rest the egg yolk on top. Bon appétit!
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