The picture postcard is made up of vineyards overlooking the Mediterranean and swaying lightly in a breeze that refreshes the clear afternoon sun. That is the scenario that Sitges Malvasia transports us to, that distinctive feature in local gastronomy that, in the form of wine, connects our sea from coast to coast and that the Celler de l'Hospital has proudly preserved to the point of making it a hallmark of the town's identity. This is the same setting in where the recipe we want to introduce you to was born: steak tartare made with Sitges Malvasia as broto us from the Acqua Restaurant by the Hotel Sunway's restaurant manager, Patricia Puigdemasa. This establishment also allows us to enjoy this dish while contemplating the sea, and Puigdemasa reveals all the secrets so that a single bite will transport us to those same slopes cradled by the breeze.
We have a long list of ingredients ahead of us, but there's no need to panic:
And now we are going to set the stage for it to be just right.
First we have to clean the meat, remove any nerves or fat it may have and then chop it very thinly with a knife and continue cutting the rest of the ingredients the same way. We take a bowl, we place it inside a container with ice to keep it cold and we put in the meat, onion, capers, gherkins and the hard-boiled egg white. Remember to chop everything well with a knife. In another bowl we mix the egg yolk with the oil and we emulsify it with a fork until it looks like a sort of faux mayonnaise.
Now all that remains is to mix the ingredients correctly and for that we return to the first bowl, the one with the meat, and we add salt, pepper, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco and our particular liquid gold, the dry Sitges Malvasia. Everything to taste. In this step there are no magic recipes, everyone should experiment and find their own personal preferences. Once we've reached this point, all that remains is to add the emulsion and let it sit in the fridge for about 15 or 20 minutes. When we serve it, we add a raspberry cut into slices on top, which makes the flavor contrasts a delight.
The dish isn't complicated, but it must be prepared with great care and to ensure success, Patricia Puigdemasa insists on this recipe's three secrets. First, the quality of the meat and to cut it to knife, it doesn't count to use ground beef because otherwise it will be too crumbly. Second, add the yolk and oil emulsion that gives the steak tartare a particular creaminess, without being mushy. And third, the time for it to rest and recover from the cold, which is very important, because this is the time when the dish will acquire the right texture and the meat will finish absorbing the flavors of the rest of the ingredients.
Well, obviously there is a fourth secret... Sitges Malvasia, and I'm not kidding. Some of the more conventional steak tartare recipes include brandy. "Sitges Malvasia makes the dish even better because it adds a freshness and aromatic value that clearly rounds off the dish", as Patricia Puigdemasa assures us.
And what should we have to accompany an experience like this?
Our guide down the paths of the steak tartare reminds us that pairings can be based on contrast or continuity, so her recommendation is to accompany this recipe with the Celler del Hospital's sparkling Monembasia, which accentuates the dish's freshness.