If you've never had beef tartare, you're probably like a lot of Americans who have no interest in eating raw ground beef. The dish is also called steak tartare, although that can be made with either raw beef or horse meat. There's actually a pretty memorable Mr. Bean bit in which the character tries to eat this famous beef steak appetizer at a fancy restaurant, with hilarious results.
What is Beef Tartare?
This isn't your typical cookie cutter Italian or French low carb dish. Beef tartare is a raw meat dish usually served with onions, capers, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and seasonings. Sometimes, a raw egg yolk is added on top as well. The meat can be put through a grinder or left in whole fillets, depending on the restaurant.
There's also a French version that is tartare aller-retour, consisting of a mound of mostly raw ground meat, lightly seared. Low on carbohydrates and high in cholesterol, this isn't necessarily a healthy dish, though it's perfectly safe to eat in clean restaurants with reliable butchers.
Steak Tartare Recipe
There are plenty of steak or beef tartare recipes floating around, and some of them come down to flavor preference -- if you're actually a fan of the dish and want to eat it, that is.
Many recipes call for sirloin steak, although a cut of beef tenderloin like filet mignon and chateaubriand sometimes show up too. Kobe and ribeye steaks can also make an appearance. Many recipes call for vinegar, olive oil, dry mustard, diced shallots, anchovies, kosher salt, ground black pepper, Dijon mustard, cornichons, pickled vegetables, celery leaves, capers, fresh parsley, and lemon zest or lemon juice. Some even throw in ketchup or Tabasco to the ingredient list. A few restaurants serve it between two slices of rye bread as a sandwich.
A Food Network recipe has you cut the steak into pieces and then freeze it before you whisk the vinegar, dry mustard, and egg yolks in a small bowl. Then, you stream in oil and whisk in the shallots, capers, salt, and about 2/3 of the celery leaves and parsley.
Next, you hard chop the meat by hand with a sharp knife or throw it in sections into a food processor. You fold the meat, then present it with garnish on a plate. That's it!
The total time to make this is likely much less than it would take for a cooked meat meal, since you don't actually cook it in an oven or on a stove. If you're brave enough to attempt trying it without having a reaction like Mr. Bean's above, more power to you.