Chopped, raw meat--when combined with the right elements--is a beautiful and primal--yet also elegant--dish, suitable for all occasions. I like to use a coulotte--also referred to as top sirloin--a petite cut that comes from the sirloin cap. It is commonly thought that using tenderloin is best for this dish but the filet or loin doesn't typically have that much flavor and it's also the most expensive of cuts.
Ingredients (serves 6 as a first course):
-1.5 pounds of top sirloin/coulotte, cut into cubes (it's best to slice when the meat is very cold)
-1 cup of gherkins, chopped
-1/4 cup of salt-packed capers, drained and rinsed
-1 quail egg per person
-2 tablespoons chopped chives
-2 tablespoons chopped chervil
-2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
-2 medium shallots, finely diced
-1 tablespoon mayonnaise
-1 teaspoon of freshly grated horseradish
-2 tablespoons of dijon mustard
-1 tablespoon lemon juice
Combine everything but the eggs and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. Plate and crack a quail egg on each mound of tartare and serve with toast points.
James is a food writer and Bay Area chef who owns and runs a private dinner party and cooking class business specializing in regional Italian and Spanish cuisine. See CookWithJames.com