This dish is an ode to my Oma, my maternal grandmother. She used to make a steak tartare that I absolutely loved and is still one of my favourites. I just can’t get enough of it. At Qualia, we recreated her recipe, but tweaked it a little to give it our ethos. If you don’t have the time to cure the egg yolk, you can use it raw, like my oma. But don’t omit the egg altogether – it adds a wonderful creaminess. Though I have used chunky buff cubes, you can use minced buff, which is what is used traditionally.
If preferred, you can leave out the mushrooms, which takes 4 days to pickle
For Steak Tartare
- 300 gm tenderloin
- 50 gm white onions chopped
- 30 gm gherkins, chopped
- 25 gm anchovies, minced in its oil
- 10 gm capers, chopped
- 10 gm chives, chopped
- 10 gm Pommery (grainy) mustard
- 5 gm parsley, chopped
- 100 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 20 ml lemon juice
- 5 ml honey
- Salt and pepper
For Cured Egg Yolks
- 300 gm salt
- 300 gm caster sugar
- 15 gm black peppercorn, crushed
- 15 gm thyme, chopped
- 8 eggs yolks, separated
For Garlic Sourdough
- 4 mini sourdough loaves
- 40 gm soft butter
- 5 gm chopped garlic
- 5 gm rosemary, chopped
For Pickled Shimeji Mushrooms*
- 250 gm shimeji mushrooms
- 50 gm sugar
- 10 gm salt
- 10 gm thyme
- 200 ml white wine vinegar
- 200 ml water
- 12-15 whole black peppercorn
- 3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
For Basil Oil
- 100 gm basil green
- 10 gm spinach leaf
- 150 ml olive oil
* Note: The shimeji mushrooms need to pickle for at least 4-5 days. The longer the better – they will keep in the refrigerator for months and get better with age.
For Steak Tartare
- Cut buff tenderloin into 5 mm cubes and set aside, covered in plastic wrap, in a non-reactive bowl in the refrigerator.
- Combine all remaining ingredients and whisk together to form a dressing. Set aside in refrigerator.
- Just before serving, mix dressing with diced buff, and adjust seasoning.
For Cured Egg Yolk
- In a large, non-reactive bowl, mix together the salt, sugar, thyme and crushed pepper. Set aside 200 gm or about ⅓ of this mixture.
- Spread out 400 gm of salt-sugar mixture on the bottom of a 14 x 9 inch stainless steel casserole pan. Use the back of a spoon to make eight evenly-spaced, shallow impressions in the salt, about 2-3 cm apart.
- Separate yolk from the white, one egg at a time, and carefully place the yolk in the hollowed-out salt well. Repeat until all the impressions are filled with one egg yolk each. (Refrigerate the egg whites and use them later for anything else.)
- With a spoon, gently cover the yolks with remaining salt mixture, making sure to blanket them completely. Start by filling the area immediately around the yolks and slowly move your way up. This way the yolks are contained by a thicker ring of mixture and covered with a thin layer. It’s important to do this to keep yolks from bursting under the weight of too much mixture.
- Cover pan tightly with plastic wrap and set aside for 45 minutes to cure yolks. They will firm up and shrivel as the cure sucks moisture out of them.
- Remove yolks from pan with a large spoon and very gently bathe each one in ice-cold water to remove excess salt.
- Transfer to a pan filled with refined oil. Making sure yolks don’t burst.
- Refrigerator yolks submerged in oil. Use an oil that will not solidify in the refrigerator.
- When ready to use, remove yolks very gently with a slotted spoon and pat dry excessive oil with a paper napkin.
For Pickled Shimeji Mushrooms
- Trim the roots off mushrooms and stuff them in a sterilised glass jar.
- Bring all remaining ingredients to a boil in a saucepan and pour the hot pickling liquid over the mushrooms. Seal the jar.
- Refrigerate when it cools down and use only after 4-5 days of pickling. The longer the better.
- Heat oven to 180˚C/350˚F.
- Partially slice through sourdough loaves, making slits about 1-2 cm apart.
- Separately, make a rosemary garlic butter by combining all other ingredients and mixing well.
- Spread some garlic butter into each slit, place the loaves on a tray, and bake in oven till they crisp up and toast. This should take about 10-15 minutes.
For Basil Oil
- Boil water in a pot and blanch the basil and spinach leaves for a minute or so before transferring them to an ice water bath.
- Once cool, squeeze leaves well to remove all excess water.
- Purée blanched leaves with olive oil in a blender till emulsified.
- Using a muslin cloth in a tea strainer, strain oil and remove solids. Store in a squeeze bottle.
- Spoon the steak tartare onto the centre of a plate and use the back of a spoon to make a shallow hollow in the meat.
- Carefully remove a cured egg yolk from the oil, gently pat dry and transfer to hollow in tartare.
- Garnish with pickled mushrooms, drizzled with basil oil, and serve with garlic sourdough.