Tartara All’Arancia, Orange Steak Tartare

Though steak tartare is often associated with the French, it is also quite popular in Italy, where people often make it not with egg yolk, which poses a risk of salmonella, but rather olive oil, which is just as effective at moistening the meat, and is also lower in cholesterol. This recipe also contains orange juice, which adds a pleasant touch.

To serve 4 you-ll need>

  • 1 1/3 pounds (600 g) finely chopped beef (see below note)
  • 2 tablespoons pickled capers, rinsed and chopped
  • 8 more capers, simply rinsed
  • The juice of an organically grown orange (before squeezing it, use a zest grater or potato peeler to remove fine strands of orange zest that will serve as garnish)
  • 1 tablespoon cognac or brandy
  • 4 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Curly lettuce leaves, to serve as garnish

Before the recipe, about the meat: As you might guess, the success of steak tartare depends upon the quality of the meat used. When I had the good fortune to watch the chefs at the Trattoria alla Palma (just outside Verona) prepare it, they used cuore di scamone, which is an individual muscle from the heart of the rump, and both flavorful and tender. English-language recipes I have seen suggest top quality tenderloin, with the sinews removed, and it will work quite well too.

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.

Put the meat in a bowl and mix into it the chopped capers, cognac or brandy, half of the orange juice, half the olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Mix well.

The Trattoria alla Palma's Tartara: Shape the Meat Into Losenges

The Trattoria alla Palma’s Tartara: Shape the Meat Into Losenges

Divide the mixture into 4 parts, and press them into round patties a little more than a half-inch (1.5-2 cm) high; if you use a doughnut cutter or similar round mold it will be easier to make the angles between the side and the top & bottom are square (you could also, if you want, shape the meat into lozenges the way they do at the Trattoria alla Palma).

Place your tartara on four plates, set two of the capers in the center of each patty, and decorate them with a few strips of zest. Arrange lettuce leaves on the plates around the patties, and decorate with more orange zest

Whisk the remaining orange juice and olive oil in a bowl to emulsify it, and drizzle it over the meat. Serve at once.

Yield: 4 servings Orange Steak Tartare

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Categories: Antipasti and Starters

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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