I am a true carnivore.
I love my steak rare; I like to tease my sister that I like it to “moo” on the plate. My meat loving is not restricted to steak though; chicken, pork, lamb, veal, ostrich, buffalo and any kind of fish all make me salivate. I even plan on trying gator meat when we take Maureen to college in Florida. One of the more unusual meat dishes I have a taste for is what I call “Steak Tartare a la Baltimore.”
And yes, it is what it sounds like to all the foodies out there.
“Tartare a la Baltimore” is ground round with chopped yellow onions mixed in, salted and peppered and served on dark rye or pumpernickel bread sandwich-style. My parents enjoyed and introduced this dish to me at my grandfather’s catering hall where this popular dish was served at almost every bull-roast, wedding and buffet they could remember. Despite the popularity this dish enjoyed years ago, its origins are a bit more vague.
The Baltimore version of steak tartare echoes the tradition of the dish’s past: a working-class comfort food, served at large get-togethers or in small kitchens. The dish is reminiscent of bull and oyster roasts, which bring to mind a working-class party with food and flowing alcohol. I always grew up watching my parents and grandfather eat it out of a metal bowl in the kitchen of the catering hall where they worked. It is easy and cheap enough to make: raw ground beef or steak seasoned with the simple salt and pepper combo, with minced yellow onions and a few slices of rye bread. For all you meat-eaters out there, I suggest you try it. Health concerns be damned. Make sure you’re eating quality fresh-ground chuck and you’ll be fine. People have been eating this dish for centuries and I now understand why.