Carne All’Albese or Carne Cruda, I.E. Chopped Raw Beef Alba Style

Carne Cruda All'Albese

Carne Cruda All’Albese

In other parts of the world finely minced raw beef is called steak tartare, and in many places they crack an egg into it. In Piemonte they don’t, preferring lemon juice and olive oil, and you should try this even if you think you don’t like raw meat, as it can be a rare treat indeed.

To serve 4 you’ll need

  • A pound (450 g) of top quality beef (see below note on meats)
  • The juice of 2 lemons
  • Two cloves garlic, crushed flat
  • Salt and pepper
  • A white truffle (optional)
  • A rinsed, boned and minced salted anchovy (optional)

Continuing with the introduction, The quality of the meat is of course paramount to the success of the dish, and, considering the horrid bugs that occasionally strike those who use commercially slaughtered meats, selecting it properly is very important.

You have several choices. Piemontese recipes suggest beef filet, and if you follow their lead you will want a thick, whole piece of beef filet. Filet because it’s tender enough, and whole because the bacteria that can cause food poisoning can’t penetrate a whole piece of meat — they stay on the surface. When you get it home, quickly sear it on all sides — you’re just killing what ever’s on the surface, not cooking the meat. Then remove it from the flames, trim away the seared sections, and you’re ready to proceed.

At the Trattoria alla Palma outside Verona, where I had the good fortune to watch them prepare steak tartare, they used cuore di scamone, which is an individual muscle from the heart of the rump, and both flavorful and tender.

Though many cookbooks say to grind the meat for steak tartare, the results will be superior if you chop it extremely finely with a very sharp knife, because grinding ruptures and crushes the fibers, with an adverse effect on the texture of the dish.

Once you have chopped the meat, put it in a bowl and mix the lemon juice into it, together with the garlic, and season abundantly with olive oil (as much as the lemon juice or perhaps more), salt and pepper. If you are using the anchovy add it now.

Let the meat sit, for between 10 minutes and two hours — the longer it sits the more the pinkness will fade, as the lemon juice cooks the meat. Purists prefer shorter sitting times. In any case, once it has sat, mix it again, removing the garlic when you do, put it on a serving dish, dot it with finely shaved truffle if you’re using it, and serve it as an antipasto. Some people also serve it with tiny pickles, and others dot it with thinly sliced wild mushrooms if they don’t have a truffle.

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Categories: Antipasti and Starters, Carni Piemontesi, Piemontese Meats

Author:Cosa Bolle in Pentola

Italy boasts an astonishing number of varietals, denominations, and wines, and tremendous changes are sweeping the land. New wines are being created, new DOCs are being introduced, and the existing denominations are overhauling their regulations both to reflect the practices adopted by their member wineries and to favor improvements in quality. Even the most staid and stolid region can flower seemingly overnight, emerging with exciting new wines and wineries that require rewriting the enological maps and rethinking one's positions. And, of course, recipes too, because cuisine and wine are closely intertwined and it's difficult to imagine one without the other.

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One Comment on “Carne All’Albese or Carne Cruda, I.E. Chopped Raw Beef Alba Style”

  1. StevyD
    March 15, 2013 at 5:50 pm #

    Back when I was a little kid, before so very many foods were certain to kill you, my Nonno would give me a bit of ground round, mixed with salt, pepper and drops of wine vinegar with olive oil. It was so good, but I could never tell my friends about it. I was certain they would think me a cannibal (or more awful, weird).

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