Steak Tartare

February 7, 2009

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.
~Harriet van Horne

V Day even rawer.

Steak tartare, the classic chopped raw beef dish topped with a raw egg, brings on images of Parisian bistros. A bistro is a familiar name for a café serving what used to be moderately priced simple meals in an unpretentious setting.

The word allegedly derives from a Russian word быстро (bystro) which means “hurry.” Cossacks, who occupied France after the Napoleonic Wars, frequently demanded that French waiters serve their food promptly, shouting the word that evolved into “bistro”.

This romantically induced etymology has been disputed over the years. Cossacks did occupy Paris in 1815, but the first recorded use of the word “bistro” appeared in 1884, almost 70 years later. So, the numbers are not supportive. Another possible source for the word could be bistraud, a word in the Poitou dialect which means a “lesser servant.” Yet another theory offered comes from the word bistouille or bistrouille, a colloquial term from the northern regions of France, which is a mixture of brandy and coffee. Bon matin!


12 oz fresh cut, organic beef tenderloin
4 t shallots, finely diced
4 t cornichons, finely chopped
3 t capers, drained and rinsed
2 t Dijon mustard
2 anchovies, salt packed, rinsed, cleaned and finely chopped
2 t chopped parsley

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
6 fresh organic, free range egg yolks

1 baguette or other artisanal bread such as ciabatta, toasted
Extra virgin olive oil
1 plump, fresh garlic head, cut crosswise

Trim the beef of any fat and connective tissue and set aside. Chill the beef while preparing the remaining ingredients.

With a wickedly sharp knife, cut the beef into julienne strips, and then cut across into a very fine dice. Continue chopping over the pile some until the meat appears roughly ground.

With a fork, combine the chopped beef with the shallots, cornichons, capers, mustard, anchovies, parsley, some salt and pepper to taste. If needed, add a tablespoon or more of olive oil.

Serve in mound like in the center of the plate, making a well in the center filled with an egg yolk. Spread the tatare over toasted baguette slices which have been drizzled lightly with olive oil and rubbed with garlic heads.

Fine friends: French burgundy or California pinot noir

2 Responses to “Steak Tartare”

  1. limeandlemon Says:

    Sounds delicious .. Laila ..

  2. alaycook Says:

    Laila, flattery will get you everywhere

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: