While it’s not something we encounter every day, raw meat dishes enjoy a huge following around the world. Regardless of country, origin or preparation, they all begin with quality meat; and in case you were wondering, Halaal certified meat may also be eaten raw, provided the animal is lawful and has been slaughtered adhering to strict Halaal practises.
Starting us off as we traverse the world of au natural dishes is steak tartare, probably one of the best-known raw meat dishes. Originating in France, some two hundred years ago, it was originally served with tartar sauce on the side, hence the name, but today only the name remains as the dish is served sans the sauce. Consisting of finely chopped minced raw beef, it is most often mixed with onions, capers, a variety of seasoning, sometimes a raw egg yolk; and is served on fresh baguette or rye bread.
Another well-known raw meat dish, this time harking from Italy, is beef carpaccio. While today the term carpaccio has come to mean any thinly sliced meat, fish or vegetable; in its original form, it was thinly sliced raw beef drizzled with olive oil, served with wedges of lemon, and white truffles or Parmesan cheese. According to the history books, it was first invented in 1950 by Venetian chef, Giuseppe Cipriani, to help a countess who was told by her doctor to eat more raw meat. The dish was named after the painter, Vittore Carpaccio, who was known for the red and white tones of his work.
Next, not as well-known, but very popular in certain parts of Germany is mett, a minced pork spread flavoured with salt and pepper. Belgium and the Netherlands have their own version of mett, but there it is made from minced beef. Mett, in its natural state, is most often eaten on a fresh bread roll and topped with raw onion, but it can also be prepared in sausage form, known as mettwurst, in which case it is slightly smoked.
Another type of raw beef sausage is the Dutch, osseworst. In its factory-made form it is known as ossenworst (notice the added ‘n’), but in an effort to preserve the original version, osseworst is today protected by the Ark of Taste, an international listing of endangered heritage foods overseen by the global Slow Food movement. The real thing is made with premium, 10-day aged beef which is coarsely ground, mixed with spices, stuffed into natural beef casings, allowed to ripen for 24 hours, pre-dried for an hour at low heat, and then finally smoked on oak or beech chips at a low smoke temperature for at least a day or overnight.
And that concludes our raw-meat-ramble across Europe for today. Most important, whether you enjoy your meat au naturel, gently grilled or flat-out well done is that you begin with high-quality meat, and for that, look no further than N1 – leading wholesale suppliers who offer the best in quality meat Cape Town and Johannesburg