Ready? Come on let’s go.
Let’s twist and turn our way through old streets of Rome until we find a spot for dinner.
Right, left, straight, through the piazza, right, right, oops we’re down a dead-end alleyway. Admire the beautiful geraniums spilling off the balcony and continue your mission. Dinner, looking for dinner.
Hmm…this place looks interesting. Roscioli. It’s a beautiful deli in front and a cave like dining room in the rear. There’s an unkempt, surly looking man running the cash register, gorgeous cured meats in the deli case, and huge bowls of Roman artichokes. This’ll do.
You’ll order quite a bit here. How couldn’t you? You are forced to examine everything in the case while the surly guy deliberates over which table to bring you to. He double checks to make sure you’re both americani. Check, check. He shuffles papers, you gasp over the mortadella with a two foot diameter. Holy baloney! Your table is ready. You can stop eating with your eyes and get down to serious business.
Like I said, it’ll be hard to not eat a lot here. Everything just looks so fresh, so good, so Italian. You want it all. You order several things to share. You eat, you enjoy.
Four months later, you remember this meal. You remember how happy you were this night, still in the beginning of your two week-long vacation. You remember how much more pleasant it was to have feet that ached from walking miles over old cobblestones than from wearing bad shoes on a twelve hour shift. You’ll remember the cool wine cellar you snooped around in (discreetly) while you waited for the restroom. You’ll remember all of this.
But four months later, only one dish will haunt you.
The steak tartare. So simple, so fresh, so Italy. The meat was from a very special herd of cows, of course. As if you’d want to eat just any cow! What else? Ripe, red as the meat, diced tomato. Fruity olive oil. A mound of beautifully creamy, oozy Burrata.
So Italian that maybe I shouldn’t even try to recreate at home in the Midwest. Maybe I should just cherish the memory.
No. I’ve got to do it and I’ve got to do it now while I can still find a decent tomato in these parts. This is crucial. This dish is only going to have a couple ingredients so they had all better be the best I can find. Go to the butcher for the meat. Splurge, you only need a little. Is there a nice cheese shop nearby? Head there for the freshest, imported Burrata. Farmer’s market for the tomato. Wow, even shopping for this dish makes me feel Italian.
Chop the meat. Peel and dice the tomato. Grate a little shallot. Drizzle the oil. Sprinkle some salt, a pinch of pepper. Mix and make it look pretty. Top with a bit of Burrata and serve with a few crostini.
Talk. Reminisce. Plan your next trip to Italy.
- 8 oz. Lean cut of Beef (I use tenderloin)
- 1 medium Ripe Red Tomato
- 1 small Shallot
- ¼ Ball of Buratta
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
- Coarse Ground Black Pepper
- Place beef in freezer for 10-15 minutes. This will make it much easier to cut.
- Thinly slice baguette for as many crostini as you feel necessary, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake in 400° oven until golden and crunchy, about 10 minutes.
- Peel, seed, and dice tomato. Place in medium bowl.
- Dice chilled beef, add to tomatoes.
- Grate shallot over tomato and beef mixture. Stir to combine. Season with extra virgin oil, salt, and pepper.
- Mound tartare on serving plate, making an indent to hold the Buratta.
- Gently cut a wedge of Buratta and place in indentation.
- Serve with crostini.
Wow, you even make raw steak look delicious! Can’t believe you were a vegetarian for what – 8 years? Love the pictures of Rome, too! Beautiful, inspiring site – can’t wait to see what you do next. (and I can’t rest until I make the granola….)
I knew this post would inspire readers to remember my days of vegetarianism.