Carne Battuta al Coltello con Uova di Quaglia

posted in: Cooking, Savory | 34


Something we gut-wrenchingly miss about Italy: the plentiful celebratory festivals that take place in small towns across the countryside. A typical Saturday in Piedmont would consist of Jonas and me revving up the Alfa to hit the hills in search of a gathering of townfolk united in their reverence for classic Fiat 500’s, white truffles, esoteric antiques, gelato, formaggio, vino, et cetera.  One of our favorites was the Festival delle Sagre, translated that’s the Festival of Festivals.  It takes place in the town of Asti, famous for great wines (Barbera d’Asti, Asti Spumante), horseracing (The Palio), and its close proximity to the heart of the best white truffles on earth, tartufo bianco d’Alba.  The festival is a great place to sample rustic Piedmontese cuisine in a large-format, entirely informal setting.  It is also a great place to drink plentiful amounts of wine poured directly from large glass damigiane (carboys, casks, huge glass vessels used to store wine) and have a sinfully good time.


One of the more memorable dishes on hand at the Festival delle Sagre is carne battuta, which means (now get your mind out of the gutter here) beaten meat.  The longer version, carne battuta al coltello just means beaten with a knife. In other words, you cut up chunks of raw, very high quality beef or horsemeat, then beat it into submission (and tiny little pieces) with a super-heavy meat cleaver.  It’s like the Italian version of the French dish Steak Tartare, only with different flavors.  Typical Piedmontese additions would be lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and perhaps some herbs. I have seen people add cream as well, though rarely.

ghost cleaver

In my case, I wanted to top my battuta with a quivering quail egg because I thought it would add a nice, carbonara-like texture to the finished plate.  I started with extremely fresh Wagyu filet mignon cut from the center of the tenderloin and trimmed of any oxygenated pieces just before preparation.  Then I roughly chopped it before going to town with my man-sized meat cleaver. I beat up half a pound of filet so much my arm is sore today, no kidding. Perhaps I am just a big wimp!

quivering quail

Once I had my perfectly beaten cubes, I used a fork to stir in lemon juice (one small lemon for half pound of meat), olive oil-to taste, ½ c of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, ½ tbsp chopped fresh oregano, and Maldon salt.  I then plated the battuta using a cookie cutter as a form, topped it with a sous vide quail egg (you could just soft boil too), and sprinkled on some fresh pepper.  I served the battuta with celery and carrot ribbons because they are nice to break up the mouth feel of the meat.  It’s a great appetizer for a more adventurous dinner party, of course you’d want to be sure everyone was ok with raw meat before you wasted all that delectable filet.

sous vide quail

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  24. I tried your Carne Battuta al Coltello con Uova di Quaglia and it is fantastic. Thank you for sharing it. I noticed you use olive oil instead of extra virgin olive oil. Does it matter which one you use? I came across this quote by Nicholas Perricone at

    “Extra virgin olive oil is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory foods in existence. Though I cannot promise you an equally long life span [as the olive tree’s life span], I can assure you that you will look younger, think more clearly, be more active and, yes, extend your life if you incorporate extra virgin olive oil into your diet on a daily basis.”

    Any recommendations of one over the other? Is buying extra virgin olive oil worth the extra money?

    Cynthia Busher
    Chatsworth, CA

  25. Ezra Lunde

    oh my god. stunning.

  26. @Pam @ Sticks Forks Fingers
    the dinner guests are a key element to this one for sure! I hope I get to see these Manolos live some time soon.

  27. @Deslihhh
    In Walla Walla? Awesome! That town is improving by the second. Carpaccio is fab too, though my heart belongs to battuta- kind of like spicy tuna on crispy rice versus just plain ol’ sashimi.

  28. I just had lamb tartar in Walla Walla this weekend and it was fabulous. I don;t trust many pleces that serve it so usually i end up having beef carpaccio which saves my craving.

  29. Beaten meat and a quivering egg. Very exciting. I’m trying to figure out just who we could invite over for this who would appreciate the adventure.

    You always get me with those beautiful shimmery quail eggs.

    An aside… I just bought a gorgeous pair of limey green Manolo’s, and no kidding, standing there at the store I imagined and that they’d be great to wear one of your parties. And we haven’t even met.

  30. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Linda M Nicholson, Linda M Nicholson. Linda M Nicholson said: Italian version of steak tartare: Carne Battuta al Coltello con Uova di Quaglia […]

  31. This is gorgeous! I’ve never had a quail egg, but it definitely sounds perfect to go with this :D

  32. I was just about to say what Adelina said, haha. I’m also Armenian and we love eating a particular dish of raw meat and bulgar wheat. My family tops it with a dressed “salad” of chopped tomatoes, cucumber, Italian peppers, and sumac and also some cooked ground meat. I think every culture has their own version of a tartar. I like your version as it has Parmesan cheese in it :) Can’t go wrong there!

  33. @Adelina
    Olive oil and pine nuts sounds great!

  34. Interesting! I thought only Middle Easterns eat meat this way. Being Armenian and having family from Egypt and Lebonon, our family gatherings always have this type of dish at the table… except the list of ingredients are a combination of spices and bulgur. We do top it with olive oil and pine nuts.

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