Vendredi Vocab: Steak Tartare

By: Cecily G

Vendredi means “Friday” in French. Each week we add something new to our culinary vocabulary by delving into a word from our menu.

This week, we will delve into: Steak tartare

Steak tartare is a savory dish made from raw ground, or finely chopped, beef, usually seasoned with salt and pepper, a dash of a few different sauces (ketchup, Worcestershire, mustard, or Tabasco), mixed with raw egg yolk, chopped onions, capers, and chopped parsley. Depending on preference of preparation, the meat can be anywhere from coarsely chopped to ground into a fine paste.

The history of this dish is laced with legend, much unproven, but popularly believed nonetheless. One theory of the dish’s origin comes from Slavic regions 800 years ago, where Europeans supposedly first encountered it. The Mongols, and their allies from Taratary, known as the Tartars, when encroaching on Slavic territory, would traditionally eat finely minced, tough meats that had been bound by milk and raw eggs. It is said that this meat was made by placing the meat under a saddle, and riding upon it all day to tenderize the meat. Though there is no evidence to prove this story true, it is a fun origin legend for steak tartare!

Around the turn of the 20th century, raw chopped beefsteak began to appear on the menus at grand French hotels, originally called “beefsteack à l'Américaine.” This was raw meat served with a raw egg yolk on top, and chopped onions, chopped parsley, and capers on the side. "Steack à la tartare" (literally meaning "served with tartar sauce") began to show up on menus, and was described as beefsteack à l'Américaine without the egg yolk, and served with tartar sauce. This dish’s name was later shortened to "steak tartare" and eventually, the distinction between the two similar dishes disappeared.

This ever popular foodie favorite has been a staple on the menu at the girl & the fig for years, and is a wonderful way to start your meal. Our Grass-Fed Steak Tartare is served traditionally with raw egg, as well as caperberries, lavender sea salt, and toast.

Grass-Fed Steak Tartare at the girl & the fig


Vendredi means “Friday” in French. Each week we add something new to our culinary vocabulary by delving into a word from our menu. We love food, we love words, and we love to learn something new. We also love Fridays.

Happy Vendredi, everyone!

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