Steak Tartare

“This is a sensational recipe, whether you’re making it at home or out and about,” says picnic connoisseur Max Halley.

“If you want to enjoy tartare at your picnic and haven’t successfully persuaded your butcher to chop the meat for you, you’d better have a penknife in that kitbag and have remembered a chopping board.”

Steak Tartare from Max’s Picnic Book by Max Halley and Ben Benton

Makes enough for 8-10 lettuce cups


  • 200g beef (ideally something lean, such as fillet)
  • 2 little gem (bibb) lettuces, leaves separated

For seasoning:

  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon capers, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • half teaspoon salt
  • half teaspoon Dijon mustard

Optional extras (not really, but you’d be mad not to use these too):

  • 1 egg yolk
  • small handful of chopped parsley
  • dash of Tabasco sauce


Chop your steak at home, add all the seasoning ingredients and mix well, then store in an airtight container until you’re ready to eat.

Read more: Succulent Steak Florentine

If you are heading out on a hot day, you might not want to carry a bag full of raw meat, gently sweating in its own juices. On such a day, it’s a good idea to mix all the seasoning ingredients at home and take them with you in a small tub. While out and about, purchase your chosen piece of steak from a butcher, ask them to finely chop (never mince) the meat for you, and then mix the seasonings into the meat just before you eat. Either way, when the time comes, simply spoon the tartare into the lettuce cups and serve with the ‘optional’ extras alongside.

Read more: One-Pot Steak and Potato Winter Stew

Why not explore the butcher’s counter a little further? Much of the cow works well in this way, be it beef or veal. The heart is a world-beater when tartared, with some expert commentators (Ben Benton) suggesting it makes a steakier-tasting steak tartare than steak does. People are funny about heart, but it’s not a creepy secreting/filtering organ like liver or kidneys, it’s just a muscle like rump or fillet.

Max’s Picnic Book by Max Halley and Ben Benton, photography by Louise Hagger, is published by Hardie Grant.

Are you a fan of Steak Tartare? Have you ever prepared it yourself?

– With PA

Read more: Affordable picnic treats

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