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Steak Tartar a la Ludwig

Grad Mokrice in Brezice, Slovenia

Back in 1972 I was visiting my cousin in Solvenia.  Erik was/is a very worldly man who knew everything and everyone knew of Erik.  He did his best to teach and entertain during my visit and surely the culinary highlight was Steak Tartar as prepared tableside by Ludwig at 850-year-old Grad Mokrice in Brezice

The picture shows Mokrice has a courtyard surrounded by thick, massive walls of stone.  Inside that courtyard, there was a restaurant under the stars.  There was a huge fountain in the center of the courtyard and strolling musicians playing high brow on their violins and accordion

Erik ordered everywhere we went because he knew what was great.  Here, he selected Ludwig as our waiter and instructed that Ludwig prepare Steak Tartar

Wine was already waiting on Erik's preferred table

Back then, I was very youthful and had no idea what was going on.  We drank the red wine while Ludwig went off to get his cart.  Steak Tartar a la Ludwig is made tableside then served immediately on a variety of hearty toasted breads, mostly in somewhat triangular shapes

Ludwig came back with his preparation cart on which was a large steel bowl.  On a shiny silver plate was the chopped meat.  Around the perimeter of this plate were indentations, 12 altogether, each of which had a prepared ingredient (e.g. garlic was chopped fine) for the Steak Tartar.  The steel plate was obviously custom made to carry all of the ingredients so you know these folks are very serious about this dish

If you have come to this page via Google or Yahoo and have previously viewed videos or read recipes for Steak Tartar, you know that 12 ingedients = 2x or 3x as many as any recipe you have seen.  On top of that, Ludwig had a style and assembly technique like a 5-star restaurant professional, unique compared with conventional information for this classic dish

Ludwig started by cracking an egg then adding the yoke to the steel bowl.  He handled two forks in one hand and began to wisk the yoke.  After a bit, he added oil to the yoke and continued wisking until he liked the consistency.  Ludwig now added the meat and blended.  One by one, he added an ingedient from the silver plate.  Each ingedient was mixed with the two forks into the meat by itself

To add all 12 ingedients, that was 12 procedures and took a while.  No matter, Ludwig was very entertaining and worked quickly while we sipped more strong local red wine

The musicians arrived at our table and cousin Erik selected a favorite Slovenian melody

Ludwig finished his mixing then put a portion of Steak Tartar on smaller plates for each person

We can't say we are 100% correct in remembering all 12 ingedients, but here's our best recollection:

Shallots, Red onion, Capers, Horse radish, Garlic, European mustard, Parsley, Worchestershire sauce, Cognac, Cornichons, Salt, Pepper