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WHAT YOUTH EATS: RAW BEEF The latest in our Raw Series: Steak tartare is the primest of the prime.

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Photos: Paul Brewer

For the last few weeks we’ve gone raw. We’re doing it all for the flavor — an exercise to experience great ingredients at their root essence, with a secondary win of less time cooking and more time having summertime fun outside (making raw things takes less time, duh). So far we’ve focused on fish and honestly, we’d be thrilled to eat Spicy Don bowls and albacore crudo for the rest of summer.

But what else can we eat raw? Veggies? Of course, but more on that later. Fruit? Yeah, but you know that. Chicken? Only if you’re a psychopath Jeffery Dahmer in training, like this person. How about raw beef?

My first exposure to this was at the now-closed Comme Ça in Las Vegas, back when I had a healthy expense account and a high desire to spend every penny of it. The French bistro served a beautiful chopped raw beef seasoned with all sorts of greatness, topped with an egg yolk, served with some grilled country bread. I sat at the bar, ate it with a martini as my company, and loved every second of it. Light, fresh, clean, delicious. The best part was as I walked out I realized, “Hey, I can make that!”

After all, it is just chopped meat, some seasoning, an egg yolk, and some bread. Four main things that are totally doable and yield beautiful results.

Above everything, all your ingredients have to be super premium and fresh. Just like you wouldn’t make tuna sashimi with some smelly ass fish, don’t make beef tartare with bargain-isle cow. Get yourself some nice sirloin from a good place — grass fed, free range, well-butchered beef. You don’t have to go as far as knowing that the late-cow’s name was Colin, but do some work and know what you’re feeding yourself. Same goes for the rest of the ingredients: buy the best that you can swing.

Steak Tartare with Crusty Bread

For Steak Tartare

  • Whole Sirloin, ½ lb. per person, fat trimmed off
  • Capers, chopped
  • Couple of cloves garlic, minced
  • A generous squirt of Dijon mustard
  • A little anchovy paste, or chopped anchovies
  • Some chopped parsley
  • A splash of olive oil
  • 1 egg yolk per serving
  • A few slices of crusty sourdough, country, or French bread per person
  • 1 martini per person (gin, vermouth, cold)

Chop the beef. Do it as fine as you can, somewhere between ¼ cubes and mashing it into a ground beef mess. This will go easily if your knife is sharp and the beef is semi-frozen… it’ll squish and slide around less.

Mix. In a bowl, mix your chopped steak with the ingredients through olive oil. Make sure it’s all combined well and the anchovies have melted into the mixture. Add salt and pepper and adjust amounts until it tastes balanced.

Form. I like to use a little bowl or ramekin for this as a form. For each serving, press the steak mixture into the bowl, compacting it in there. On your serving plate, flip the bowl over to leave a perfectly formed mound.

Grill. You could toast your bread slices, but throwing them on the grill for a quick char ups the presentation and adds a smoky grill flavor that works with the steak. (I know grilled bread isn’t raw. Give me a break though.)

Finish. Using your fingers or a little spoon, make a well in the top of the mound you just made. Carefully slip in the raw egg yolk, then crack some pepper on top.

Eat. Best to break the egg yolk with your fork and put a little on the crusty grilled bread as you eat. And don’t forget to sip your martini, it’s not going to drink itself. —Paul Brewer

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