East Coast/West Coast: Beef Tartare

It all started at a little event this summer called the International Food Bloggers Convention.  A whole weekend of delicious gourmet food, amazing beers and wine, classes on everything from food photography to getting published, and a room full of people just as obsessed with food as I.  To top it off, the event was held in the nation’s only organic, fair-trade bean-to-bar chocolate factory, Theo Chocolate!

The first night of the event, I met Heather from Z is for Zest.  We hit it off,  with a little help from a couple bottles of French red wine at the UrbanSpoon after-party.  The following day, after an amazing lunch of  salmon carpaccio, baby octopus with chorizo garbanzos, beef tartare, and all the wine we could drink, we were struck with an idea! Why don’t we recreate our favorite dish of the day, the Snake River Farms Wagyu beef tartare, with an East Coast/West Coast theme.  (Heather living in Virginia, me in California).  And thus, our project was born!

We contacted the kind folks at Snake River Farms, whose meat had been featured at the event, and they generously offered to donate the meat for our project.  Now all we had to do was make a plan and start cooking!

I was home when the knock came to the door.  My meat had arrived!  I nearly jumped with joy!  After all the planning and anticipation, the day had arrived!  I pulled out my dusty old manual meat grinder and gave it a through deep cleaning, tossed the beef into the freezer(to chill it before cutting and grinding), and ran to the store to get fresh ingredients to accompany this top-of-the-line cut of beef.  I wanted everything to be perfect.

Returning from the store, I assembled the grinder and pulled the meat out of the freezer.  I couldn’t wait to cut into this beautiful piece of meat I had been planning over for months.  I trimmed the sinew off, sliced it across the grain into strips, making it easier to grind.  Slowly, I fed it in the grinder and awaited the results.  The grind was just how I had hoped it to be, smooth, fine, and slightly marbled.



After grinding all the meat, I tossed the meat back into the freezer, to compensate for the heat accrued during grinding, and just to be safe, since I would be eating this meat raw.  I chopped the Italian parsley, added a spoonful of Dijon mustard, some capers and their brine, some chopped red onion, a drizzle of my finest extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper.  Combining all those ingredients, I added them to the meat, topping it with the yolk of an egg.  The original recipe calls for the whole egg, but not knowing exactly how fresh these eggs were, and being pretty grossed out by raw egg whites, I opted for just the yolk.


I then combined all the ingredients and test tasted it.  It seemed lacking in the zest I was craving, so I added a squeeze of lemon and served it on a bed of wild arugula.  Delicious! And I would have to say, even better than I had experienced at the IFBC event.  Maybe I’m biased, but I don’t think so!


Here’s my recipe:

1/2 lb. beef Teres Major(shoulder tender), or tenderloin

2 Tablespoons Dijon

2 Tablespoons each, capers and brine

3 Tablespoons chopped Italian parsley

1 organic egg yolk

1/2 red onion, minced

1-2 Tablespoons your best extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon each, salt and pepper

2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Combine all ingredients and served over a bed of arugula (or your favorite salad greens) or on baguette slices.

Cooking Notes:

– Working with the raw meat made me hyper-sanitary in the kitchen.  I double washed all the ingredients that I was to use.

-To compensate for the heat the grinding would cause the meat, I threw it in the freezer for an hour before cutting.  I also threw it back in the freezer after it was freshly ground, before adding the other ingredients.

-Not comfortable with the unknown freshness of the egg, I used only the yolk.  Also raw egg white creeps me out.

-I used both the caper brine and the caper berry.  I wanted to get both the flavor and the texture.

-After test tasting it, I felt it needed a little more tang.  I added a squeeze of lemon and it was just perfect.

My friend Heather, on the other hand, had a slightly different approach.  We used the same basic recipe, with minor differences.  She used a electric grinder, while I used a manual.  Check out her blog to see her East Coast take on beef tartare and her amazing pictures.  http://zisforzest.com/2010/10/11/beef-tartare/

A big thank you to Kathy Carlson, from Snake River Farms for believing in us and sponsoring our project! Cheers!

Tags: ,

Categories: check this out!, joint food blog projects


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3 Comments on “East Coast/West Coast: Beef Tartare”

  1. Angela Grizzle
    October 12, 2010 at 12:18 pm #

    Looks beautiful! What a cool idea (East coast vs. West coast).

    Did you share the dish with anyone?

    • melissadavisfood
      October 12, 2010 at 4:47 pm #

      Unfortunately, my husband was not home, so I ate alone. He was able to enjoy via the photos, which he salivated over.


  1. Beef Tartare « - October 11, 2010

    […] Melissa’s West Coast Cooking Notes And Full Article Can Be Found Here! […]

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