Carne crudo literally translates to "raw meat" and, if eaten in Piedmont, that’s pretty much all you get, diced meat seasoned lightly, dressed liberally with olive oil and served with only a lemon wedge. It's a simple and delicious starter, and entirely reliant on the quality of the raw ingredients. This version has a few more ingredients and technically is closer to steak tartare, which is what the rest of the world calls it.
- 12 very thin slices of sourdough bread
- 4 small eschalots, finely sliced
- olive oil
- sweet white vinegar
- 240 g beef eye fillet
- 2 egg yolks
- 30 g finely grated parmesan
- fine zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp roughly chopped capers
- 2 tbsp finely chopped store-bought pickled dill cucumber
- 1 tbsp finely chopped chives
- olive oil
- river salt and black pepper
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Drying time 1 hour
Lay your pieces of bread on a baking tray; it’s okay if they overlap slightly, and drizzle with a very small amount of olive oil. Place the tray in an oven at 100°C for about an hour or until the bread is completely dry and crisp.
While your bread is drying, soak your eschalots under cold running water for about 20 minutes or so to take away some of their sharp flavour. Let them sit in cold water until you are ready to use them.
Take your piece of beef and cut it into very thin slices, making small piles about 4 slices high. Once you have lots of nice small piles, cut each across into thin slices before turning and slicing thinly again the other way. Try and do this swiftly so your beef doesn’t warm and also nicely, so you end up with a lovely even dice. Place the beef into a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap and place back in the fridge to cool a little.
In the meantime, assemble all your other ingredients. Squeeze out the eschalots, place them in a bowl, season with a little salt and then add a good splash of vinegar and a little splash of olive oil. Set aside.
Take your beef out of the fridge, add the yolk, parmesan, egg, capers and pickled cucumber. Also add a nice splash of olive oil and a good amount of seasoning. Give this all a thorough mix making sure it’s well combined.
Have a taste and adjust the seasoning and make sure you have enough oil so the mix is a little loose. Once you are happy, stir in the chives before placing your meat onto a serving platter, drizzling a little extra oil on top and giving it a final turn of black pepper.
Serve with the eschalots on the side and the dried bread in a pile.
• A few things - it’s easier to get very thin slices from bread that is slightly stale. When cutting your beef make sure you have a very sharp knife. There are many different types of pickled cucumbers, use the ones that you like best.
Photographs by Benito Martin. Styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by Suresh Watson.