Skip to content

Beef tartare with arugula pesto

Last Wednesday we had guests for dinner. I wanted to cook a meat course that was fresh and perfect for these hot summer days.

I came up with the idea of making a beef tartare which was easy to prepare since it did not involve grilling or baking.

Whenever I buy raw meat, I go to my local butcher who sells high quality beef. I asked him to get me some lean cut Angus beef and have it cut into tiny pieces (in Italy this type of cut is called battuta). “Carne batutta” looks like ground meat but it isn’t.

However, I thought: what is beef without its potatoes? It’s like bread without butter, or fries without ketchup. Thus, I added a light potato salad with onions and cucumbers to please my guests’ taste buds (and mine of course!!).

Beef tartare with arugula pesto


For beef tartare

  • 450 grams Angus beef cut into tiny pieces.
  • 2  tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of capers
  • 1 teaspoon ground red peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste

For potato salad

  • 1 small potato
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 small cucumber
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt to taste

For arugula pesto

  • 10 – 12 arugula leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons of pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste (if required)


 Angus meat “battuta”.


To make meat tartare, combine all ingredients and blend well.

During summer, if you are not going to use beef tartare right away,  it is better to refrigerate it to prevent meat from being exposed to heat.

To prepare potato salad, peal potato and slice thinly. Slice red onions and cucumbers thinly.

Add lemon juice to red onions and salt to taste. Let is stand for about 30 minutes. This will remove the after taste of onions! Add salt to cucumbers.

Meanwhile, bring water to boil in a small pot and add sliced potatoes. Cook for about 6-8 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Combine potatoes, onions, and  cucumbers and blend well.

To make arugula pesto, use a mortar and pestle. Begin by crushing arugula leaves, and add pine nuts. Crush pine nuts and then add Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Blend well. Finish pesto by adding extra virgin olive oil. Add  salt if needed.

To plate beef tartare, I used a round metal pasta cutter. Place the pasta cutter in the middle of the dish and add about 3 tablespoons of beef tartare. Put about 3 tablespoons of potato salad on top. Finish by placing more beef tartare until it fills the entire pasta cutter. Press it down to firm it up.

Finish plating by forming two thick strips of arugula pesto on each side of the beef tartare.

Serves 4.

17 Comments Post a comment
  1. I would have loved to be one of your guests!! How clever to add in the potatoes and use arugula for pesto. I like how arugula compliments the flavor with beef. Beautiful presentation!

    July 22, 2011
  2. Wonderful! I love the capers and the freshness of the meat, which is something I may have a hard time finding here! I love the coolness of the meal too. The fries line made me laugh. My wife hates ketchup too! She does extra salt or vinegar.

    July 22, 2011
    • Jajajaja! I wanted to be punny on that! I am glad I made you laugh!

      July 23, 2011
  3. I love tartare and am frustrated at how hard it is to find good beef in Andalucia. I want to come to your house for dinner!!

    July 22, 2011
    • That is very sweet of you! And it would be my pleasure!!

      July 23, 2011
  4. Elena Dumas #

    I love it! Bellisimo!!!

    July 23, 2011
  5. Much as I love steak tartare, I have just recovered from the sharp discomfort of a touch of food poisoning after eating this very dish on Thursday. My guess is that it was a case of bad kitchen hygiene in the restaurant, but it means that I can’t think of steak tartare as a friend at the moment,

    July 23, 2011
    • Poor thing!! Indeed, when preparing steak tartare, one has to be extremely careful. First of all, you should rely on the source and my butcher is 100 % reliable. He’s more expensive than others but that is because his meat has high standards of quality. Second, meat conservation is crucial. Once you season and mix all ingredients you should place immediately steak tartare in the refrigerator to prevent heat exposure!

      July 23, 2011
  6. I can only dream of having a butcher like yours. The dish looks fantastic. Beef tartare is one of my husbands favorite dishes.

    July 23, 2011
    • Thank you!! It is also one of my husband’s favorite dishes, therefore I make it often!

      July 23, 2011
  7. It’s not often that I hear/see the word “batutta.” My Grandfather insisted that a number of dishes be started by sautéing a “batut'” of thinly sliced salt pork, parsley, and garlic that had been chopped repeatedly until a paste resulted. Thanks for sharing — and for the memories.

    July 24, 2011
    • You got it! In fact, battuta is beef that has been chopped repeatedly into tiny pieces and it looks like ground beef so that is why it has that paste consistency!!

      July 24, 2011
  8. It looks beautiful and must taste great too. I often eat carpaccio of beef, but tartare less so….maybe it’s time to try it. A good idea for summer.

    July 24, 2011
  9. Either beef carpaccio or beef tartare are great summer dishes. I like to vary with fresh seafood since we get good seafood from the Tyrrhenian Sea.

    July 24, 2011

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Rabbit – two ways « mw kitchen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: