Photos: Vic Chin, Video: Vic Chin and Peter Ruocco
Beef for most of us refers to young steers or boy cattle because most people don’t think about the meat from dairy cows. Dairy cows are aged to about seven years and they are coddled, loved and cared for which leads to marbled meat that is mature and full of flavor. Dry aging that meat removes much of the moisture and develops the flavor even more...I call it Antique Beef. It’s delicious and perfect for my version of beef tartare, although you can choose a more traditional lean cut for this dish.
Aged beef doesn’t always look pretty but once you cut away the dry, oxidized, outer layer it reveals a dark mahogany version of the steak inside. To make tartare, many chefs like to cut the meat into small dice, but, for me, it makes the final dish too chewy. I want the full flavor to be released and a soft mouthfeel — that means grinding the meat. Make sure that the meat is cold, the grinder is chilled in the freezer, and all of the utensils are cool. This ensures that the fat doesn’t melt into the meat.
I like to serve my tartare with toasted bread that has been rubbed with the skin side of a lemon, flavoring the bread lightly with the lemon oil. Mixing the egg yolk into the meat and stirring it together with everything on the plate, then spreading it over the bread makes a decadent sandwich that you can really get your teeth into...a great meal!
Beef Tartare with Sprouts and Crusty Bread
- 8 - 10 ounces lean, dry-aged beef such as top sirloin, trimmed of fat
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 tablespoons nonpareil capers
- 2 tablespoons minced chives
- 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- Pinch freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch Aleppo pepper
- Smoked sea salt flakes
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Ingredients for serving:
- 2 egg yolks
- Aleppo chile
- Smoked sea salt flakes
- Alfalfa & mixed sprouts
- Chive blossoms
- Finely grated lemon zest
- Freshly grated horseradish
- 4 slices of toasted hearty, whole grain bread
- 1 lemon, for flavoring the bread
- Lemon wedges, optional
- Trim the beef, removing any fat and silverskin, and cut into long strips.
- In a chilled meat grinder fitted with a large grinding plate/dye, grind the beef into a large chilled bowl. Gently stir in the shallots, capers, chives, lemon zest, pepper, Aleppo pepper, and salt. Drizzle in olive oil, then squeeze in a little lemon juice, stirring carefully.
- To serve the tartare: Set two metal rings on two serving plates and fill each with the tartare. Make a small divot in the surface of the meat and gently place an egg yolk in each of the divots. Sprinkle with Aleppo pepper, black pepper, and salt. Garnish with sprouts, chive blossoms, lemon zest, and a light grating of fresh horseradish.
- Serve immediately with toasted bread, rubbed with the skin of the lemon, and lemon wedges.