Beef tartare conjures mixed feelings in people, those who truly know what it can be love it, people who haven’t had a nicely prepared one might think it’s a little strange, since raw meat can seem a little weird if you aren’t used to it. When you have some high quality beef though, there are few preparations as nice as tartare.
Some restaurants will grind their tartare meat. I like to dice it very small, this has the effect of making it more attractive, and also gives it a uniform texture. Ground tartare meat can be a little off putting if not done correctly, since each different die on the meat grinder will give you different effects, and if the meat is not meticulously trimmed, you could get pieces of sinew or fat that have an unappetizing mouth feel
Tartare is very rich, so you want to include some acidic components alongside it. In this recipe, the beef is dressed with a simple vinaigrette made from pickled ramps, and then served with some pickled mushrooms and fresh, spicy radishes. You could change the dance partners up any way you like, but pickled hens have a really awesome texture that will surprise you.
Beef Tartare with Ramp Vinaigrette and Pickled Maitake
Serves 4 people as an appetizer
- 4oz finest quality beef, such as top round, strip loin, tenderloin, or ribeye, just as long as its impeccably fresh
- 2tbsp pickled ramps, chopped fine
- 1/4 cup ramp pickling liquid
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, or another nice salad oil like sunflower
- Toast, crust removed
- Pickled maitake mushrooms/hen of the woods, to garnish. See a recipe for pickled maitake here.
Dice the Beef
- Freeze the beef until ready to use, this makes it easier to cut. Half an hour before you want to eat, take the beef out of the freezer and let it sit for ten minutes. Allowing the beef to thaw for a few minutes makes it easier to dice.
- Dice the meat into tiny cubes about 1/4 of an inch. The meat can be refrigerated, wrapped very tightly in plastic wrap until you are ready to serve.
- Chop the ramps finely, then combine with their pickling liquid and cook in a pan until the liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes
- Add the oil, season for salt and pepper, and let cool before mixing with the beef.
Finishing and plating
- When it is time to serve your tartare, whisk the ramp vinaigrette, then mix with the beef to taste, adjusting with salt and pepper if needed. Here I have used a ring mold to shape the beef tartare in an attractive circle, but you could easily make another shape with a mold or use two spoons to form little individual football shapes, or quinelles.
- Place the seasoned tartare on a plate, then garnish with the toast points, pickled hen of the woods, and sliced radishes. Serve Immediately.