I love classic food – the food you find on menus at iconic restaurants like Sardi’s in New York City’s theater district. As you sit there amongst the hundreds of caricatures of celebrities who have all enjoyed meals at the 90-year old restaurant, you are transported back to the genteel age of radio broadcasts, black and white TV and famous Playbills. This isn’t an appropriate venue to eat modern dishes such as avocado toast or quinoa but rather the perfect setting for a retro meal like Steak Tartare.
I make Steak Tartare with all the traditional ingredients including hand diced beef tenderloin, anchovies and egg yolks topped with a tiny quail egg. Because this recipe is based on raw ingredients, it is imperative that you purchase the highest quality beef the on the day you’re making the recipe and to buy fresh organic eggs from a local farmer you can trust.
Although you could simply scoop out a portion of the tartare when plating, it’s better to use a ring mold (or empty can) to form the tartare into a perfect circle.
10 ounces beef tenderloin
4 oil-packed anchovy fillets, rinsed and minced
1 tablespoon brined capers, drained and rinsed
4 teaspoons Dijon style mustard
2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
3 tablespoons Italian flat parsley, finely chopped
5 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 dashes red Tabasco sauce (optional)
Salt and pepper
2 quail egg yolks (or small chicken egg yolks) – for serving
Toast points, pickled pearl onions and cornichons for serving
Before you begin, place the beef tenderloin in the freezer for 15 minutes. This will firm it up making it much easier to dice uniformly. Also chill your dinner plates in the refrigerator while you prepare the tartare.
While the beef is chilling, combine the anchovies, capers and Dijon mustard in a large bowl. Use a spoon to lightly crush the capers.
Add the two large egg yolks, onion, parsley, olive oil and Worcestershire sauce. If you like a little added spiciness, add a dash or two of Tabasco sauce as well. Mix well to combine.
Take the tenderloin out of the freezer and using a very sharp knife, cut the beef into very small (1/8 inch) cubes. Try to cut the pieces as uniformly as possible, as this will make for a prettier presentation and better blend of flavors throughout.
Fold the beef cubes into the other ingredients making sure that everything is evenly dispersed. Taste and adjust the seasoning with a little salt and fresh ground pepper.
Put half of the tartare into a ring mold positioned in the center of a chilled dinner plate. Using a small spoon, make a shallow indentation in the center of the tartare, and carefully place a quail egg yolk or small chicken egg yolk on top. Remove the ring and mold the second tartare on the other dinner plate.
Serve with toast points, pickled pearl onions and cornichons.
If you find that you have leftover tartare, don’t toss it out! You can have it for lunch the next day. Spread the leftover tartare on a piece of toast and put it under the broiler for about a minute.