Steak tartare looks and sounds impressive but is really easy to make. This one is spiced with a hint of fragrant star anise.
4 tbsp olive oil
trimmings from the topside of beef (see below)
4 celery stalks, trimmed, roughly chopped
1 onion, peeled, cut into quarters
1 head garlic
2 carrots, peeled, roughly chopped
1 tbsp black peppercorns, crushed
2 tsp dried thyme
2 whole star anise
1 tbsp tomato purée
6 over-ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
6-8 mushrooms, cut in half
750ml/1 pint 5fl oz red wine
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
For the stock, heat the oil in a large pan (such as a stock pot) over a medium heat. Add the trimmings from the topside of beef and fry until browned.
Add the celery, onion, garlic and carrots and fry for 8-10 minutes, or until browned.
Add the peppercorns, dried thyme, star anise, tomato purée, tomatoes and mushrooms and cook for a further 4-5 minutes, or until fragrant and well combined.
Pour in the red wine and bring the mixture to a simmer. Simmer until the volume of liquid has reduced by half.
Cover the vegetables with water, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for at least 4 hours, regularly skimming any impurities from the surface of the water with a spoon.
When the stock has reduced, strain it into a clean pan and bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer until the volume of liquid has reduced by half again. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside until completely cooled, then chill in the fridge until needed.
For clarifying the stock, blend the clarifying ingredients in a food processor until well combined, then add the mixture to the chilled stock.
Whisk the stock for 4-5 minutes over a medium heat until a crust forms on the surface. Continue to simmer gently for 10-15 minutes, then strain the clarified stock through a fine sieve lined with muslin and set aside until completely cooled. Chill in the fridge until needed. (Discard the clarifying ingredients.)
For the beef tartare, place the minced beef into a large bowl. Stir in the chopped shallot, mustard, salt, freshly ground black pepper, star anise seeds and lemon juice and mix together until well combined. Chill in the fridge until completely cold.
For the Melba toast, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
Cut three slices from the frozen rye bread, making them as thin as possible. Cut each slice of bread in half to form six triangles.
Place the bread triangles onto a baking tray, drizzle over the olive oil, then season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bake the bread slices for 5-6 minutes, or until golden-brown on both sides.
To serve, pile some of the spinach leaves into the centre of each of six soup plates. Place a 5cm/2in chefs’ ring on top of each portion of spinach and spoon in some of the beef tartare mixture, pressing it down firmly to pack tightly. Carefully remove the chefs’ ring.
Arrange the diced yellow pepper, red pepper, tomato and cucumber on top of the beef tartare. Top with some of the shredded lettuce. Ladle the beef consommé around the edge of the beef tartare. Garnish with the deep-fried basil leaves. Serve with one Melba toast triangle.
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