By Jonathan Hatchman, Food Editor, @TLE_Food
At the tail end of last year, Martin Williams – formerly Managing Director of Gaucho – opened his second solo restaurant. Following in the footsteps of the relatively new M Threadneedle Street, the restaurant space at the new M Victoria Street is split into a ‘Grill’ and ‘Raw’ section, similarly to its previous incarnation. While the former has a prominent focus on top-quality steaks, the ‘Raw’ section offer a number of dishes that showcase numerous fish and meats in their most natural, edible state. A surefire highlight from that particular section is the kangaroo tartare, inspired by Executive Chef Michael Reid’s time in Australia, which arrives at the table as a pristine tower beneath a garden of edible flowers and leaves. And with kangaroo becoming far more popular in the UK, prized for its leanness, the ingredients for this particular dish are now becoming more readily available, thus making it easier to attempt to recreate this astonishing dish at home. Although still unavailable in most supermarkets, kangaroo can still be sourced relatively easily, and although the overall process is slightly laborious and time consuming, the overall effort certainly pays off, straight from the first mouthful.
This recipe also requires a sous-vide water bath in order to make the egg yolk sauce, an expensive kitchen gadget that’s still absent from most home kitchens. However, although the overall results wont be exactly the same, a number of DIY sous-vide solutions can be found online, from meticulously-controlled stove top methods, through to the more surprising use of a dishwasher.
Kangaroo fillet, 300g, finely chopped
Capers in brine, 4tsp, drained and rinsed
Cornichons, 4tsp, very finely chopped
Red onions, 4tsp, very finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Edible flowers, to garnish
Nasturtium leaves, to garnish
Toasted pumpkin or sourdough bread, 12 thin slices, to serve
For the mushroom ketchup
Smoked Water, 300ml
White wine vinegar, 50ml
Olive oil, 100ml
Button mushrooms, 1kg, trimmed and chopped
For the mushroom powder
Dried shiitake mushrooms, 200g
Sea salt, ¼ tsp
For the pickled baby beetroot slices
Rice wine vinegar, 75ml
Raw baby beetroots, 4, scrubbed and sliced wafer-thin, ideally using a mandolin
For the mushroom crisps
Fresh shiitake mushroom caps, 4, cut wafer-thin, ideally using a mandolin
For the sous vide egg yolk sauce
Vegetable oil, 400ml
Free-range egg yolks, 4, at room temperature
The mushroom ketchup is ready to use as soon as it is made, or it can be stored for up to one month in a covered container in the fridge.
To make the mushroom ketchup, combine the smoked water, sugar and vinegar in a saucepan over a high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, and bring to the boil.
Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over a medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté them until they are browned and have reabsorbed any liquid they give off.
Pour in the smoked water mixture and continue simmering until the mushrooms are very tender. Transfer the mushrooms and any remaining liquid to a blender or food processor and blitz, then pass through a fine sieve into a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then transfer to a squeezy bottle and leave to cool completely. Chill until required.
Make the mushroom powder up to one month in advance and store in an airtight container at room temperature. Put the dried shiitake mushrooms and salt in a small food processor and blitz until a fine powder forms. Transfer to an air-tight container and set aside.
The pickled baby beetroots should be made at least two days in advance, but are best made at least four days in advance and will keep for up to one month in the pickling liquid in a covered container in the fridge.
Combine the water, sugar, vinegar and salt to taste in a saucepan over a medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil, without stirring. Remove the pan from the heat, add the beetroot slices and leave them in the liquid until it cools to room temperature. Cover and chill until required.
The mushroom crisps take at least 6 hours to dry and can be made up to two days in advance and stored in an airtight container until required. Preheat the oven to 150°C/Gas Mark 2 and line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper. Place the mushroom slices on the baking sheet in a single layer and roast for 6 hours, or until dry. Leave to cool completely, then store until required.
The egg sauce should be started about 7 hours before you plan to serve, but can be made up to one day in advance and stored in a covered container in the fridge. Place the oil and egg yolks in a heatproof container that fits inside a sous vide water bath and place the container in the machine. Set the temperature to 65°C and leave for 1¼ hours.
Meanwhile, place a bowl of iced water in the sink. Transfer the yolks to the bowl and leave to cool, then place in the fridge for at least 6 hours, or up to 12 hours. Just before serving, use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggs from the water to another bowl. Use a fork to whisk them to sauce consistency and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a squeezy bottle or a piping bag fitted with a small round tip.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the pickled beetroot slices from the brine and pat dry with kitchen paper.
To serve, toss the kangaroo pieces with the capers, cornichons and red onions, and season with salt to taste. Equally divide the tartare among 4 plates, using a 10cm ring if you want a professional finish, and dot each with about 1 tablespoon of the egg sauce.
Add about 1 tablespoon of the mushroom ketchup to each portion, then add the mushroom crisps and pickled beetroot slices.
Garnish with the flowers and leaves and sprinkle mushroom powder around each portion of tartare. Serve with toasted bread.
This recipe is adapted from M: A 24 hour cookbook, which is available now.