Today’s tip is an illustration of how to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. Take the humble carrot.
Carrot tartare is turning up at the finest venues around the world. We recently had it as part of the 13-course tasting menu at 11 Madison Park in New York City. A walk away, it is served at the equally fashionable NoMad.
We found other preparations as far apart as New Zealand and The Netherlands.
Carrots may be humble but they have their own holiday: April 4th is National Carrot Day.
At 11 Madison Park, the dish is culinary theatre. A shiny meat grinder is brought tableside. Beautiful farmers market carrots are ground as if they were sirloin.
The shreds of carrot are then plated and served to each person with condiments, set into a custom wood platter. At 11 Madison Park, it’s all about the mix-ins, customized as you like. The assortment of condiments can vary.
MIXED IN THE KITCHEN AND READY TO EAT
Here’s a recipe that arrives ready to eat. Great thanks go to Denise Kortlever, a Dutch cookbook author and creator of the website The Littlest Things, for obtaining the recipe. You must see her website; we want to eat everything on it!
Her carrot tartare recipe comes from Niven Kunz of Restaurant Niven in The Netherlands. A young, Michelin star chef, his philosophy is “80/20”: 80% vegetables and 20% meat or fish. (His book of that title is not yet available in English.)
You can make it in just 10 minutes. It can be served as a first course, or plated with an entrée protein.
We also have a recipe for Beet Tartare.
RECIPE: CARROT TARTARE
Serving Size: 4 Appetizer Servings
†Don’t like anchovies? Substitute 2-3 tablespoons of a tiny dice of Granny Smith or other tart apple.
1. GRATE the carrots coarsely on a box grater, Microplane or shredding disk of a food processor.
2. BLEND with the other ingredients into a smooth tartare. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. PLATE with a cooking ring (a.k.a. egg ring, English muffin ring or pancake ring). Place the cooking ring on a plate, fill with the tartare and press down with the back of a cooking spoon. Garnish with a green leaf.
 Carrot tartare served with lamb loin and drops of black garlic, pea purée and turnip purée at Chameleon Restaurant and Bar in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo © Trip Advisor.
WHAT IS TARTARE?
Steak tartare, or tartar steak, is a meat dish** that got its name from the legend that the ever-invading Tartars†† did not have time to cook their meat, so ate it raw as they traveled on horseback.
Steak tartare is made from finely chopped or minced raw beef or horse meat, plus seasonings. With its growing popularity over the last 30 or so years, other recipes have adopted the name. Salmon tartare, tomato tartare and tuna tartar are examples.
††The Tartars, also spelled Tatars, are an ethnic group from Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. Most Tatars live in the Russian Federation. To Americans, the most famous of the Tartars is Genghis Khan, whose troops invaded Europe in the 13th century. The most famous Tartar-American is the actor Charles Bronson.