Croustade of aged beef tartare, smoked mayonnaise, spiced dressing, dried ox heart

This unassuming little starter from Tom Shepherd is full of surprises. The shavings over the top are made from dehydrated brined ox heart, and the croustade is made with a Malaysian kueh pie tee maker. This isn't a tartare for the faint hearted but if you give it a try, you'll reap the rewards.

First published in 2024
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Dried ox heart

Smoked mayonnaise

Spiced dressing

Croustade batter

  • 62g of cornflour
  • 62g of rice flour
  • 7.5g of salt
  • 200g of reduced Abbot Ale
  • 50g of water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 nori sheet, toasted
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying



  • Sous vide equipment
  • Dehydrator
  • Malaysian pie tee maker



To make the dried ox heart, first dissolve the salt in the water to make a brine


Brine the heart for 48 hours


After 48 hours, remove the heart from the brine and pat dry. Cut into 8 pieces


Cook the heart sous vide at 70°C for 12 hours


Cold smoke the cooked heart for 4 hours in a Bradley smoker


Dehydrate the heart at 68°C for 2 days until completely desiccated. Set aside


For the smoked mayonnaise, whisk all ingredients apart from the smoked oil together 


Incorporate the oil drip by drip into the mixture, building to a steady stream once the egg yolk mixture starts to thicken


To make the spiced dressing, first sweat the shallot, chilli, garlic, ginger and cumin seeds together in a large pan with a dash of oil for 2 minutes 


Add the mustard powder, table salt and black peppercorns. Cook for a further minute


Add this mixture to a Thermomix with the rest of the ingredients and bring this up to 90°C on speed 5. Once at 90°C blend on speed 10 for 2 minutes


This can also be done by cooking the mixture to 90°C on the hob and then blending it in an immersion blender


Make the croustade batter by blending all ingredients in a blender


Vacuum pack the batter to get rid of all the bubbles and rest for 20 minutes


Heat up some oil for deep-frying to 180°C

  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying

Dip the mould into the oil using tongs to hold it securely, then dip the mould in the batter and then back in the oil. This should form a hollow croustade that will release from the timbale mould


Repeat with the rest of the batter


Mix all the plating ingredients with some mayonnaise and spiced dressing to taste and season with sea salt


Fill the croustade with the beef mix and put an extra dot of smoked emulsion on top


Finish this with some gratings of dehydrated ox heart and a curl of chives

First published in 2024

Tom Shepherd cut his teeth in Michelin-starred kitchens working for the likes of Michael Wignall and Sat Bains, before winning Staffordshire its first ever Michelin star at his own restaurant, Upstairs, located above his father’s jewellery shop. His success is a result of an ethos centred around drawing as much flavour as possible out of every single ingredient on the plate.

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