Diary of a Foodie

Faux Beefsteak Tartare

Diary of a Foodie: Season Two: Trompe l’Oeil: The Art of Culinary Deception

  • Active Time:1 1/2 hr
  • Start to Finish:4 1/2 hr (includes making dressing, basil oil, and chips)
February 2008
  • 3 lbs large plum tomatoes (about 12), cored and halved lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
  • 1 small beet, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon drained capers, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced chives
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Tabasco to taste
  • 1/2 cup shallot dressing
  • Basil oil for drizzling (optional)
  • Equipment:

    a nonstick bakeware liner such as a Silpat or parchment paper; cheesecloth; a 3-inch round cookie cutter or ring mold
  • Accompaniment:

  • Garnish:

    minced chives
  • Preheat oven to 250ºF with rack in middle. Line a large shallow baking pan with liner and arrange tomatoes, cut sides up, in 1 layer in pan. Roast 3 hours, then cool to warm.
  • While tomatoes roast, blanch shallots in a small saucepan of boiling water 1 minute, then drain. Pat dry between paper towels.
  • Cover beet with cold water by 1 inch in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes. Remove beet with a slotted spoon and discard, then boil beet-cooking liquid until reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Set aside.
  • Discard skin, seeds, and inner membranes from tomatoes, leaving outer “shells.” Chop tomatoes and transfer to a large double layer of rinsed and squeezed cheesecloth. Working over a bowl to catch juices, wring out tomatoes in cheesecloth to remove excess liquid (reserve juices for another use) and transfer tomatoes to a bowl. Stir in shallots, 1 tablespoon beet-cooking liquid (to “color” tomatoes), garlic, mustard, soy sauce, capers, chives, oil, sugar, Tabasco, and salt and pepper to taste. Chill, covered, at least 1 hour.
  • To assemble, place cutter in center of a plate and fill with one fourth of tomato mixture (do not press down; the looser the mixture is packed, the more it will resemble beef tartare). Lift up cutter and repeat on 3 more plates with remaining tomato mixture. Spoon about 2 tablespoons shallot dressing around each “tartare” and drizzle lightly with basil oil (if using). Place 2 Gruyère chips into each serving and sprinkle with chives.
Cooks’ note: Tomato mixture can be chilled up to 1 day.
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