. Let’s pretend for a second that there was a man in my life and that he and I had planned on spending a lovely evening together, just the two of us. No work, no phone calls, no distractions from the outside world. Even the dogs would have to keep a low profile…
Of course, part of the plan for the evening would be to enjoy a good meal together, have a glass of wine maybe (yeah, I do that sometimes, you know!) and exchange thoughts on subjects that we’d both find fascinating, like the nutritional value and amazing properties of cauliflower, for instance, or what movements we were planning on incorporating in our next workout.
Then we’d obviously move on to playing a never-ending game of chess or Monopoly, or watch hockey or something…
What? Isn’t that what couples do when they get to spend some quality time together?
Watching sports on TV isn’t a part of that? Are you absolutely certain?
Hmpft! Looks like I might have a little bit of of catching up to do in that department…
One thing I do know for sure though is that this Beef Tataki would be part of that evening’s menu. I honestly cannot think of a better dish to serve on such an occasion. I say you set that plate down between your man and yourself and you’ve just set the table for a successful, prolific evening. More food would have to follow, of course, but this sure would kick things off the right way!
And the best part is, you get to do most of the work in advance, so really, this will be ready for you and on the table in mere minutes, leaving you with more time on your hands to tackle that game of bridge, you know…
The principle behind Tataki requires that you sear your meat really quickly on all sides over conflagrant, blazing, SCORCHING heat so the outside gets nicely crusted while the interior remains completely raw.
You then take that meat and place it in a vinegary marinade for a couple of hours or up to a full day. Then and only then will you slice the meat real thinly and serve it.
So really, there’s nothing to it…
…save maybe for this small detail: expect smoke, and LOTS OF IT!
I don’t think there is any way that one can do this without setting off the fire alarm, unless they have a supersonic range hood. If you can, remove that battery before you get started, or prepare yourself mentally: the @#*% thing is going to go off and you are going to have to deal with it right in the middle of cooking your meat. UGH!
But it’ll be very much worth the pain, I promise!
After the meat has been seared on all sides and the fire alarm has been dealt with, place the tenderloin in a re-sealable plastic bag, pour the marinade over it and set that in the fridge to marinate for a couple of hours, or up to a day.
When you are ready to eat, take the meat out of the marinade, let it drip for a few seconds and roll it in toasted sesame seeds until it gets completely coated.
Then slice your meat as thinly as you can. Do you own a sashimi knife? Now would be a good time to take it out! If you don’t, just make sure your blade is really nice and sharp. Slices is what you’re after here. It’s not tartare we’re making!
Now to make the fresh and colorful cucumber and radish salad that gets mounded in the center of the plate, you’ll need only a few more minutes.
Simply mix all the ingredients for the vinaigrette in a small bowl, slice the cucumber, radishes and dry shallot as thinly as you possibly can (if you own a mandolin, now would be a good time to take that out, too…) toss all that together and we are ready to plate!
Arrange the thin slices of beef nicely around the platter and mound the salad right in the center.
Garnish the whole thing with a sprinkle of Fleur de sel and some more fresh thyme and serve. Oh, and remember the marinade in which you marinated the meat? Hope you didn’t throw that out, ‘cuz we’re gonna use it as a dipping sauce. Don’t worry about it being contaminated; technically, it was used to marinate cooked meat, so it’s totally safe to eat!
And it tastes amazing, too! It complements the beef to the absolute perfection!
Last but not least, I find a wooden board works especially well to serve this particular dish. It gives it so much character, a great deal of rusticity and a hell of a lot of masculineness! And notice how the tataki got arranged on a single board, too. Very “Lady-and-the-tramp-like”: 2 dogs, 1 plate. Awww… so romantic!
Setting up the table with additional, individual plates is entirely up to you.
Personally? I don’t think I would…