The Unique History Of Steak Tartare, Once A Snack Of Warriors – Tasting Table

Posted By on July 21, 2022

According to Jewish Viennese Food, the sauce was named for the Tartar tribe, though not for obvious reasons. The French considered the Eastern European gherkin, an ingredient in the sauce, exotic, so named it after the Tartars. Another entertaining idea presented by Nino Shaye Weiss at Jewish Viennese Food pertains to steak tartare in its other incarnation, "steak l'Americaine." Wiess proposes that because French chefs considered Americans barbarians who may not even know how to cook meat, naming the raw dish "steak the American way" was applicable. Wiess adds that by characterizing it as American, French chefs were free to use otherwise unacceptable ingredients for Haute cuisine, like Worcestershire, tabasco sauce, and, heaven forbid, ketchup.

Appropriate for its storied past, the dish also has a literary history. According to Aranjuez Steakhouse, Alexander Dumas wrote of "goat la tartare" in the "Count of Monte Cristo," and tartar was also included in "Miguel Strogoff, The Tsar's Post Office" by Jules Vern. Fittingly, steak tartare was once on the menu at Jules Vern, the restaurant in the Eiffel Tower. The New York Times notes, Honor de Balzac also wrote about an "eel la tartare" in the late 1800's. If that were not enough for this dish to take its place in history, Anthony Bourdain tells us in his Cookbook: Les Halle's Strategies Recipes and Techniques that "Les Halles, the restaurant was pretty much created to serve this dish."

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The Unique History Of Steak Tartare, Once A Snack Of Warriors - Tasting Table

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