I concede this is not a dish for everyone, but I like the way we serve steak tartare at Cumulus. It demands interaction from the punters, reflecting my belief that steak tartare is a dish that needs to be fine-tuned according to individual taste. A splash too much Tabasco could ruin it for some. Well, for me anyway. For this reason, we serve various condiments on the side, including green and red Tabasco and a clear anchovy essence from Italy (colatura di alici). Purists will argue that the addition of fresh horseradish is a sacrilege, an outrage. They can argue all they want - I like it this way. All the dicing and chopping may seem torturous, but the more uniformly and consistently this is done, the more refined the texture of the tartare will be.
- 125 gm beef rump
- 2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp finely diced cornichons
- 1 tbsp finely diced radish
- 1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tbsp small salted capers, rinsed and dried
- 1 tbsp finely diced shallots
- 1 egg yolk
Freshly grated horseradish
- 1 small bottle each green Tabasco and red Tabasco
- 1 small bottle colatura di alici
- 10 thin slices baguette, dried in a 180C oven for about 5 minutes
- 1To prepare beef, suspend a stainless-steel bowl over another bowl of ice, ensuring top bowl is touching ice so it stays cool. Cut beef into 3mm dice and place in chilled bowl, along with anchovy, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and a pinch of salt and freshly ground white pepper. Take a wooden spoon and beat vigorously for 3 minutes over ice.
- 2Arrange beef on a serving plate and pile small mounds of cornichon, radish, parsley, capers and shallot on and around it. Make a small divot in top of beef just large enough to hold yolk. Place yolk in this and finish with a light sprinkling of freshly grated horseradish.
- 3Serve beef tartare with Tabasco sauces, colatura di alici and thinly sliced baguette on the side. Mix tartare at the table, adjusting seasoning to your personal taste as you go.
Note*Cumulus Inc. by Andrew McConnell is published by Penguin Lantern ($59.95, hbk). This extract has been reproduced with minor GT* style changes.