Appetizer and Light Fare Recipes

Beef Tartare on a Spoon

According to Chef Rick Tramonto, in his excellent book amuse
amuse bouche are today what hors d’oeuvres
were to America in the 1950s. They are a bite-sized treat that  delights the eye, excites the tongue and whets the appetite. An amuse should be easy to make, boldly seasoned and nicely presented.
Inspired by Tramonto, I set about yesterday to make a beef tartare amuse bouche.

Steak tartare recipes abound and mine is not much different from Tramonto’s or others. What’s new here and worth writing about is the presentation. I wanted to use the tapa spoons I got on sale at Fortessa’s last visit, but did not like the idea of placing a quenelle of beef tartare directly on the spoon. Foraging in Safeway’s produce section, I chanced upon some beautiful Asian
pears. “Wow” sez I, “I think a small lardon of
crisp, juicy and sweet Asian pear under the tartare and – when taken off the spoon – onto the top of the tongue might be amusing.”
So I bought one, made the tartare and tried it. It worked. Not satisfied, I wanted to give the roof of the mouth a thrill, so why not add a couple of drops of Balsamico
, which is a very complex sweet/tart aged balsamic vinegar. That worked too. In tandem, the pear and the balsamico give the tartare the very definition of an amuse bouche: simple, beautiful, delicious and a bit zany.

So here we have:

Beef Tartare on a Spoon  

6 ozs of the best beef tenderloin you can find


4 t —–drained capers, chopped

2 T —-finely chopped shallots

2 t —–Dion mustard

1 T —-finely chopped parsley leaves

1 t —–zest of one small orange

1/2 t—Worcestershire sauce

1/2 t— Tennessee Sunshine or
other hot sauce

S/P—–needs quite a lot of salt and ground pepper

1——-Asian pear or other pear

1/2oz—- Balsamico Tradizionale (see note)

1. Chill the tenderloin in the freezer until quite stiff but
not frozen

2. Accurately, cut thin slices of tenderloin, then cut each slice
into strips and then cut each strip into small dices (do not use
a food processor or other machine)

3. In a small bowl, add the other ingredients, less pear and balsamic,
and whisk together

4. Peel the pear and cut strips about 1/8 thick and then trim
as rectangles measuring about 3/8″ x 1″ (see photo),
wrap and fridge to hold

5. Add the diced tenderloin to the small bowl, stir, taste for
seasoning, add S/P and/or hot sauce as needed

6. Cover the bowl and hold in fridge

7. On order, lay a piece of pear on a spoon, top with a shaped
portion of tartare, then top the tartare with a couple drops of
Balsamico Tradizionale

8. Serve while still chilled

Note: You can make a passable Balsamico Tradizionale by reducing
by half a good balsamic vinegar

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