Tartare is a cooking preparation term which is used for raw or very close to raw meat – usually beef steak or fish.
Some say it all began with the Mongols who were said to place raw meat under their saddle to tenderize it and then eat it raw. This unproven, but pretty widely held belief is far less appetizing than later appearances of tartare.
Minus the barbarian and add some culture and refinement and you get the French version. Steak tartare is literally translated to steak with tartar sauce. This type of steak tartare is raw or very lightly seared beef steak topped with a raw egg yolk and seasonings often including Worcestershire sauce, capers and mushrooms.
In late 19th Century New York, tartare was popularized as “Hamburg steak,” which is minced filet of beef, often smoked and served with breadcrumbs and onion. Hamburg steak’s popularity grew due to its low cost and preparation ease.
Some amazing recipes are made with tartare. Take those from some of Italy’s finest chefs, including Marco Stabile’s steak tartare finished with black truffle caviar or even the veal tartare with figs, hazelnuts and anchovy butter prepared by Marianna Vitale.
Then there is seafood tartare. The Barefoot Contessa makes hers with fresh, raw tuna steak, avocados, toasted sesame seeds, scallions, lime, soy and serves it on elegant crackers or toast points. French salmon tartare is commonly made with olive oil and a hint of mustard. There is also spicy tuna tartare, ginger ahi tartare and seafood tartare charcuterie boards which can be absolutely beautiful for entertaining.
The bold, raw truth is that Perrine’s Produce is an amazing grocery venue stocked with meat and fish just perfect for tartare of whatever items you happen to have on your menu!