The first time I tried steak tartare was at the Beach Plaza hotel in Monte-Carlo. I was twenty-one and attending the Rendezvous de Septembre a worldwide conference for people working in Reinsurance. I had arrived to have a brunch meeting with a very charismatic French client. He ordered for me. He was like that. I had no choice in the matter and waited with bated breath to see what he had ordered. The first thing that came out was a lovely surprise, a Bloody Mary, my favourite cocktail. Piquant and just what the doctor ordered after a succession of client cocktail parties the night before.
Then out came the Steak Tartare. Raw mince. I nervously placed a small bit on my fork and popped it in my mouth. It was a melange of some of my favourite flavours and I absolutely adored it. I still do. Thanks to Bernard that is.
The second story of my experience of Steak Tartare was a while later, with a member of my team and another client. This time in London. In a French restaurant in Finsbury Square, run then, by two brothers by the name of Roux. I ordered the fish, my client the chicken and Laurence? Laurence ordered the Steak Tartare. Not meaning to be in the slightest bit offensive, I asked him if he knew what it was?
He nodded and said ' Of course I do". When it came out he gasped and said ‘ Where is the tartare sauce’ and ‘ This is raw’ So I swapped my delicious looking fish and once again enjoyed my steak tartare.
We serve steak tartare as a starter at La Petite Bouchée, here's our recipe. Makes one individual tartare.
We're so lucky to have the most amazing larder on our door step and just the other day we were introduced to Freddies Quails eggs by a friend in our village and as you can see from our recipe they are the perfect finishing touch!
180g steak, minced
3 finely minced shallots
1 teaspoon finely chopped capers
1 teaspoon finely chopped cornichons
2 tsp of Dijon mustard
A pinch of finely chopped flat leaf parsley
A pinch of sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
A splash of Bloody Mary mix ( Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, lemon juice, celery salt, white pepper)
Extra Tabasco to taste
A spritz of lime
1 free range quails egg yolk
Either mince your own steak or ask the butcher to do it for you. We use Devon red ruby fillet steak
Place it in a bowl and add the finely chopped shallots, capers, cornichons, parsley, salt,pepper, mustard Tabasco and Worcester sauce, mix well.
Once mix, cover the bowl and put in the fridge for a couple of hours, so the flavours get a chance to combine.
Remove from the fridge, bring up to room temperature and make sure the dish is appropriately seasoned.
To serve either use a serving ring or your hands to make a patty.
Make a hollow in the centre and place the egg yolk in.
Strew the patty with the freshly chopped parsley
Serve with crispy sourdough toast.
Oh and don't forget the Bloody Mary !
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Don't forget to tune in on March 29th at 8pm on C4 we're featured on Hidden Restaurants with Michel Roux Jr