I made this Steak Tartare Recipe for a very special occasion, my father’s birthday. Knowing his passion for Steak Tartare, from the glory days of Rio de Janeiro, back in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s when Steak Tartare was a delicacy, prepared tableside at special restaurants, I decided to revive the recipe in his honor.
The reason this simple dish is quite extravagant is because you want to make it with the freshest and best quality filet mignon you can possibly find. And let’s be honest here – filet mignon, to this day, can be a little pricey.
It’s important to invest in good quality meat. One gram of fat can virtually threaten the entire dish, given it’s eaten cold and raw. That’s the beauty of Steak Tartare. It’s raw meat seasoned so well, so intensely, that it transforms the flavor of raw meat.
It’s also important to cut the meat by hand. You don’t want to make this with ground meat. Oh no! You want to slowly chop the meat, paying attention to each and every dice and making sure the meat stays cold at all times.
For the potatoes, if you don’t want to make your own shoe-string potatoes, by all means, buy store bought.
Although, if you decide to make it, you’ll be so pleased! Unlike the classic French Fries that need to be fried twice, shoe-string potatoes only need one frying process, making it a much easier operation. Also, you can fry the potatoes up to 3 days ahead of time and store them in a plastic container at room temperature.
For the lettuce, I like to use a combination of arugula and mesclun. Even parsley goes well in the mixture. Be careful not to use a strong dressing for the lettuce or it might overwhelm the meat tartare. I like to use a small drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, with a few twists of pure Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper. If this seems too plain for you, go ahead and use a more complex dressing.
Serves 6 to 8
For the Potatoes:
2 Idaho potatoes
1-quart canola oil to fry
For the Meat:
1¼ pound filet mignon, very cold
½ medium onion, minced
2 tablespoons capers
8 cornichons, cut into small dice
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 anchovy fillet, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
Kosher salt and Freshly grated black pepper
6 tablespoons mayonnaise
For the Lettuce
4 cups mesclun lettuce
Olive oil, Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fry the Potatoes
- Cut the potatoes into a julienne cut, using a mandoline. Let the potatoes soak in cold water as you cut them, changing the water at least once. This will wash away the starch in the potatoes.
- Spread the potatoes onto a baking sheet pan or a tray, covered with paper towels, and let them air dry for 5 minutes. Idaho potatoes will hold color up to 5-10 minutes if exposed to air. After that, they will start oxidizing and turning brown, so be careful not to let too much time pass before frying them.
- Pour the canola oil into a heavy-bottomed pot or casserole and heat the oil to 350˚F as measured by deep-fat thermometer. If you don’t have a thermometer, drop one potato into the oil – when you hear a sizzling sound and see it turning golden brown, the oil is ready.
- Fry the potatoes in batches until they are lightly golden brown. It is important not to crowd the pot with too many potatoes or the oil will cool down and the potatoes won’t stay crunchy. Carefully transfer to a plate lined with a double thickness of paper towels and sprinkle them with salt. Set aside until they are ready to be used.
- You can prepare the potatoes up to 3 days ahead of serving, just be sure to keep them in a plastic container, covered with a tight-fitting lid at room temperature.
Prepare the Meat:
- Remove the beef from the refrigerator. It should be very cold. Using a very sharp chef’s knife cut the steak into think ¼-inch slices. Stack 3 of the slices and slice lengthwise, every ½-inch holding the stack in place. Then cut across the stack, again every ½-inch, cutting the steak into ½-inch dice. Hold the chopped steak in a bowl set over crushed ice in a larger bowl. When all of the beef is chopped, add the onion, capers, cornichons, parsley, anchovy, oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Gently mix with a fork until just combined. Add the mayonnaise and mix gently. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
- Dress the mesclun salad with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Serve on individual plates with the potato and mesclun lettuce on the side.
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