Just because steak tartare is having a renaissance in restaurants doesn’t mean it’s out of reach for home cooks. The country-club classic is infinitely interpretable and can be spun any which way if you use the best ingredients and techniques. Pulling off the basic formula is actually no trickier than whipping up a batch of guacamole. Let guests mix the ingredients to taste, and serve on toasted artisanal bread.
1. STAY SHARP
A razor-sharp blade is crucial; precise chopping is what makes a great tartare.
2. CHILL OUT
Keep everything cold as you prep: the ingredients, your mixing bowl, the serving plates and particularly the beef.
3. BEEF UP
The foundation of tartare is exquisite beef. Get a thick, fresh organic New York strip steak (not hamburger!) from a butcher. Sear it in a hot pan and slice off the cooked exterior to reveal the pristine beef within. Firm it up in the freezer for 30 minutes to make it easier to dice into perfect quarter-inch cubes. A pound of beef will serve four as an appetizer.
4. CRUNCH TIME
The vegetables are where the tartare enters new territory. Use tangy and crunchy components to contrast with the rich beef. Go classic with chopped onions, capers and pickles, or spin it Asian with pickled daikon radishes and beets. Dice half a cup of each.
5. GET SAUCY
Traditional tartare uses mustard, mayo, Worcestershire and Tabasco. Offer those along with alternatives such as sriracha, soy and Korean gochujang.
6. GO GREEN
Fresh herbs add color, complexity and brightness. Put out small bowls of chopped cilantro, parsley and chives.
7. HAIL QUAIL
Substitute two fresh quail egg yolks for the chicken egg yolk used in classic tartare. If you’re squeamish about eating raw egg, use more mayo for added richness.
8. NOW SERVING
The main rule is there are no rules for mixing up a batch to your taste. Tartare Tuesdays, anyone?