Since I was growing up I enjoyed eating “crudo”; both land and sea can offer flavors that sometimes are best if consumed uncooked. My father and I used to slice thin bites of seabass and tuna every time we would catch one while sailing between the Islands in the Mar Tirreno. We would also find ourselves very often ordering a good beef tartare at local restaurants, it has always been one of my favorite dishes, and as a kid I always thoroughly enjoyed the waiter coming to the table and mixing all ingredients together.

A few years ago I ended up hosting a great dinner in the city, as part of the filming of Extra Virgin, and while shopping I came across one the most beautiful beef filet mignon I have ever seen in my life. I bought it without thinking twice about it, already set on pulling out of my old notebook my mother’s recipe for the tartare my father loved the most… Then something happened, I do not really remember what brought me to it, but I decided to slice a nibble out of that fantastic piece of meat, raw and unseasoned, and that was it. Since then, every time I prepare a tartare to entertain I choose this version as I believe that in it simple way delivers a deeper emotion to any meat lover.

Pair it with any wine or even a sharp dry cocktail, but try to enjoy it as the first pass as its flavor nuances will be harder to perceive if you had other, more seasoned foods before.

ATTENZIONE!: Eye of round makes for a worthy substitution as a beef cut for tartare. Plus, it’s a more economy-minded choice than filet.


  • 1 lb center cut beef filet
  • 3 lemons, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 2 lemons zested
  • 3 long sprigs of rosemary
  • Sea salt
  • Extra Virgin Olive oil


  1. Preheat a griddle over high heat.
  2. Sear the lemon slices on a griddle on each side until they become slightly caramelized.  Remove from heat and set aside
  3. When ready to serve, chop the filet as finely as possible, by hand, using sharp knife. Form the chopped meat into loose balls, about 2 ounces each.
  4. Sear only the bottoms on the griddle with extra virgin olive oil and rosemary.
  5. Serve immediately with lemon zest, sea salt and a small piece of fried rosemary.