Tartare du Coeur de Veau
Half of a Veal Heart (about 250 g or 2 cups, or 8 oz)
3 clementines (or else one orange or one grapefruit, depending on which citrus fruit is in season), the inner fruit diced after removing the white flesh beneath the peel surrounding the pulp, in French: lever les supremes
2 Limes, skins zested and finely diced, inner fruit diced after removing white flesh beneath the peel surrounding the pulp
2 Shallots, finely diced
1 Green Apple for tartness
Olive Oil (several tablespoons to taste) to melt some of the acidulated tang of the dish
1 tbsp Cider Vinegar to add acidity to the dish
1-2 Pinches Black Pepper
1 Pinch Piment d’Espelette (a specialty of the French Basque region, or else use Cayenne Pepper or Paprika, or if you are on a Paleo AIP (Autoimmune Protocol), avoid the red peppers altogether)
8-10g (2-3 tsp) Fine Sea Salt
1 tbsp Sesame
1 tbsp Poppy Seed
Have your trusted butcher devein the outside as well as the inside of the heart as well as the thin encasing around the main artery.
The heart meat should be sliced into fine steaks either by the butcher or by you, then cut into fine cubes.
Gently MIX in all ingredients, rectifying with extra salt as needed.
Add sesame and Poppy Seed at the end and place it all into a nice dish.
Chef’s Tip: The Secret to a “Bon Tartare” is finely chopped ingredients! Also, have little containers at the ready for each ingredient to keep yourself organized, along with one recipient for “garbage.”
Mind your Butcher!
About the Chef
Currently the main butcher at Biocoop Cauderan (an organic grocery shop in greater Bordeaux), Florent is a Charcutier from the French Basque town of Bayonne, so he not only knows his ham, which Bayonne is most famous for, but he also knows his meats: preparation of carcasses, meat preservation and curing, cutting and preparing meats, making sausages and terrines, and preparing recipes using meats and meat products. Florent told me, “I never get invited over to eat at friends’ houses, I get invited over to cook!” Such is the fate of a good chef, and he loves it!
Eat Your Heart Out
Why eat heart? Raw? Eating raw meat keeps the nutrients and enzymes intact. Heart meat in particular is packed with the most mitochondria of all our organs, which we can utilize to fuel our own mitochondria when we consume them. See The Wahls Protocol. Charcutier Florent makes this recipe with raw heart because that is how he learned it in Bayonne and he enjoys the taste and texture. To be honest, for me, it was like eating cold steak salad, with the predominant taste being of course citrus, or agrume, in French. When we did this recipe together, he gave me the rest of the unused heart and I tried frying it in a pan and it tasted like a steak, as I fried it up in ghee, garlic and parsley, like I would a regular steak. And it pretty much tasted like steak.
Why Eat Organ Meat?
Organ meats, or “offal” were and are prized in traditional cultures for their nutrient density and were often saved for young couples of child-bearing age, so as to prepare the couple for optimum conception and pregnancy. These peoples demonstrate their high regard for future generations by essentially offering them the most nutrient-dense food. Check out Naked Calories, among their other books. One book I wish I had is Jennifer McGruther’s The Nourished Kitchen. One of these days! But she also has a great blog called Nourished Kitchen as well.
Won’t Raw Meat Make You Sick?
Here’s a controversial subject: MICROBES! In our over-sanitized world, we have been at war with microbes for generations. It doesn’t look like we are winning this war, however. We are made up of mostly bacteria, and basically when we eat, we are feeding them. Being overly scared of bugs has gotten us sicker, it seems. The French have always eaten raw meat in various forms and those who are knowledgeable about proper preparation, such as chefs, butchers and traditional cooks, are entrusted by the rest of the population to provide them with delicious tartares that will not make them sick. A butcher who knows the source and treatment of his animals usually has the experience as well to understand when the meat of an animal is healthy or not, along with the date the animal was slaughtered so he may determine the freshness of the meat.
Health Over Hospital!
For me, ignoring my microbiome in my twenties is what got me sick in the first place, so now I pay attention. And to me, eating is more about surviving and thriving than about being finicky and squeamish over certain foods. Especially while healing, the choice is: health over hospital! More on that story another time. For now, it’s time to eat!