Raw food seems somehow un-American. Maybe it wasn’t always this way. But today, a byproduct of industrialization in the food industry — which prizes efficiency, mass production and a homogenous product with little chance (in theory) of food-borne illness — is a broad uneasiness about undercooked or uncooked food. Growing up, a pink pork chop went back on the grill. Burgers got cooked all the way through. Raw fish was a hazard, not a delicacy. That’s changed a bit. Sushi is popular with yuppie liberals. But guess what? 7-Eleven carries sushi. The California roll, an American invention, has a twig of imitation crab at its heart rather than raw fish. You’ll sooner catch bird flu from a low-flying warbler than get sick from imitation crab.
We’re putting our hoof down. This is the Month of Beef. We’re making our own steak tartare. And you’re doing it with us.
Let French culture wash over you after the jump.
Don’t like your beef spicy? Follow the same instructions, but use these ingredients.
- 1 12 oz sirloin
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 1 tbsp capers
- 3-5 cornichons
- 1 tbsp aioli or mayonnaise (or to taste)
- 2 tbsp tomato jam (or to taste, recipe below)
- salt and pepper
- toasted baguette slices
To Make Jam
Cut a handful of cherry tomatoes in half. Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and sugar. Roast in the oven on high heat until tomatoes brown. Mash into a paste (it should be fairly thick). Season to taste.
Steak tartare is a classic French dish made with a cut of lean meat that’s been chopped and flavored with ingredients like mustard, worcestershire sauce, capers and shallots. It’s often served topped with a raw egg and spread on slices of toasted baguette.
We made our version using filet mignon from DeBragga, but you could also use sirloin, rump or another lean cut that’s been trimmed of its exterior fat.
Chef Wes Whitsell, who was also our braising shepherd, advised us on this unique recipe for charred steak tartare. “This is sort of an elaborate one”, he said. “But it’s the best I’ve ever had”. It’s smokey (the char), spicy (the harissa) and creamy (the aioli).
We prepared it at GP HQ. The results were unanimous. Even GP’s tartare rookies (don’t look at me) were double dipping their toast.
Charred Steak Tartare
1 12 oz sirloin, trimmed of fat
1 shallot, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
3-5 white anchovies, chopped
1 tsp harissa (or to taste)
1 tbsp aioli or mayonnaise (or to taste)
salt and pepper (to taste)
toasted baguette slices
Mince shallot, jalapeno and white anchovies. Make aioli using this recipe. Get the grill really hot. Season the steak with salt and pepper. Sear on all sides. “You’re not cooking it”, Whitsell says. “You’re just searing the shit out of it”. Remove steak from grill. Chop it into small pieces (start by slicing it, then slicing it again, so on). Combine diced steak with chopped ingredients. Mix and add harissa, aioli, salt and pepper to taste. Serve in rustic dish (we used mini cast iron cocottes from Staub) alongside grilled or toasted slices of baguette.