Who doesn’t like steak tartare? A lot of people don’t. But there are many of us who do, given that it’s fresh. There’s nothing worse than a questionable presentation of steak tartar. You know, the meat is raw, it better look fresh! Anyway, where does the name come from? According to Wikipedia “The idea of eating raw meat was first noted in Slavic regions. The first reference (to tartar steak) in fact seems to come from America in 1889.In the early twentieth century what is now generally known as “steak tartare” was called steack à l’Américaine.”. However, all these claims lack sources, which Wikipedia warns you about. So I’m not sure about any of this. The story I’ve heard, which does have reliable sources, is that the name is a shortening of the French original “à la tartare“, literally meaning “served with tartar sauce”, a dish popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Anyway, there are different variations of the dish. In Sweden, it’s sometimes served as a small pre-dish (called entrée in French, but entrée mean main dish in American English, which is confusing but never mind that for now). Sometimes, it’s served as a main dish with fries. Yup, large steak tartar with fries on the side isn’t uncommon in Sweden. The toppings vary depending on country and can vary within a country too. I’ll make a main dish steak tartar with fries and traditional Swedish steak tartar toppings on the side, commonly served in Swedish restaurants, rather than mixed into the meat.
For the fries you need (per person)
- 1 large potato (Use a variety that isn’t too moist, e.g. piper)
- 1 tablespoon of potato starch
- A lot of frying oil
- A saucepan (unless you have a deep fryer but who does?)
- We’re making fast-food style fries this time, peeled, thin and crispy. So peel the potato and cut it into thin strips.
- Wash them in cold water until the water is no longer milky.
- Pat the strips dry using a tea towel.
- Heat up the oil to 150 degrees and fry the strips for 2 minutes. Take them out and pat them dry again.
- Coat them in potato starch
- Cool the fries down in the freezer, preferably over night but at least for 1 hour.
- Raise the oil temperature to 170 degrees.
- Fry the frozen fries until they’re golden brown and crispy.
- Salt to taste
For the steak tartare you need (per person)
- 200 grams of filet of beef (tenderloin in American English)
- 1 tablespoon of salt brined capers (the salty ones)
- 1 tablespoon of pickles (sweet and acidic if you can find that variety)
- 1/2 red beet
- A teaspoon of french mustard
- A handful of fresh parsley
- 1 egg
- 1/2 small red onion
- Black pepper
- Traditionally, you “shave” the meat of wit ha sharp knife, creating a really tender product. Almost like a “meat mousse”. But ain’t nobody have time for that. Instead, finely chop the mead. Don’t grind it, you want a nice finely chopped texture, in my opinion. So, finely chop it, and then keep chopping it, like you would with a herb.
- Use a large cookie cutter to make a perfect patty by pressing the meat into it.
- Boil a red beet. Then peel it, and cut into fine cubes.
- Finely chop the onion
- Finely chop the pickles.
- Serve with freshly cracked black pepper, chopped parsley, capers, finely chopped pickles, red beets, mustard, and an egg yolk on top. Your guest can mix it all any way they want.