Craving beef tataki
If I had to choose one of my four tastes it would have to be salty. Sweets are fulfilling to make but its the savoury tastes I long for most. Soy, fish sauce, anchovies or capers find their way into my cooking before I know it. Sour citrus or vinegar follow along quickly to mellow the salt and add a tang. Japanese ponzu sauce, which is soy mixed with lemon and sugar, is a classic example of this uber sweet and sour combination. It’s so yummy you will feel like tipping the bowl back and drinking it once you taste it. Classically it used for dipping tempura, sushi or as a superb salad dressing.
The latter works a treat for this beef tataki recipe. The meat is marinated, seared and mixed with a sweet onion ponzu dressing and sprinkled with nutty fried garlic chips for a to-die-for salad. Japanese food is just addictive to me with its sharp but clean ingredients like ginger, soy, mirin, or miso. Tender beef fillet or sirloin is ideal to use. It’s a budget-blower, but if made as a starter you won’t need that much meat. Add some shaved radishes, red or yellow tomatoes and spicy lettuce like rocket or mizuna and you have a very colourful tasty dish.
Beef tataki salad with sweet onion dressing and garlic chips
Prep time 15 minutes
Marinating time 1 hour
cooking time 5 minutes
serves 6 as starters
600g/1lb 5 oz beef fillet or sirloin cut into 4cm(1 1/2inch) steaks
3 tsp vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves thinly sliced
6 small radishes trimmed and sliced
6 small handfuls wild rocket or mizuna
2 tsp white or black sesame seeds toasted
160ml/5 fl oz Japanese soy sauce
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp castor sugar
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 small sweet or yellow onion finely diced
Place the dressing ingredients in a small non-metalic bowl and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Arrange the beef in a shallow glass dish and pour about 60ml/1/4 cup of the dressing over. Let marinate 1 hour refrigerated. Set aside the remaining dressing.
Remove the beef and dry on kitchen paper. This is important or the beef will not sear properly. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a frying pan. Cook the beef for 1-2 minutes each side and remove from the pan. Let rest 10 minutes.
Wipe the pan clean and reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the remaining oil and the garlic. Fry until golden about 2 minutes. It will burn quickly so watch it carefully. If they burn it will taste bitter versus nutty. Drain on kitchen paper.
Slice the beef and arrange on plates with the radish and rocket in the centre. Just before serving, spoon the dressing over and sprinkle with sesame seeds.