Local. Ethical. Humble. [Seed to Sausage + Steak Tartare]
If you’re from anywhere near Ottawa to Kingston, perhaps extending as far as the GTA, you’re no doubt familiar with the name Seed to Sausage.
From humble beginnings and with a passion to create something that showcased his love of food, Michael McKenzie began selling his exquisite salumi under the name Seed to Sausage. “Local. Ethical. Humble.”, as their logo states, is not something Mike throws around without rhyme or reason. This is a way of life for him and his family (Seed to Sausage is Mike, his wife, mother, father, son [who is only 1 but I’m sure he cures a mean meat already], and 2 chefs + butcher). Everything is produced in small scale batches with the utmost respect for ingredients.
“If we’re able to produce food to feed people a better, healthier way, I would love to be part of creating a system to do that. Our philosophy at Seed to Sausage is simply to make the best tasting food that we can. If we can do this while utilizing as many local ingredients and as few additives and preservatives as possible, then I think we’ve done our job.” - Mike McKenzie
I first had the pleasure of meeting Mike at the 2011 Beau’s All-Natural Brewing’s Oktoberfest. I walked up to his tent not having any idea that I was about to fall in love. With the salumi, that is. [Don’t worry, Mr. GL!] I took a few photos and walked away with a sample of Mike’s Sopressata. Before I knew it, I was back at his tent again. And then once more. Finally, I walked away with a paper bag filled with a foot-long salami to retire to a table with a cold pint of beer.
Never, ever have I experienced such euphoria from a paper bag filled with cured meat. Ever. Though the rain continued to spit at our backs like an angry mob on that nipping day in October, I sat, perfectly content, entirely satisfied, tearing hunks of Sopressata off with my back molars like some sort of rabid animal. Washed down with a pint of Beau’s Lugtread, it was as though Heaven had actualized right before my very eyes. Try as I may, I will never be able to experience it that same way again. That said, I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect introduction to Mike, and his vast array of salumi.
Aside from the euphoria-inducing Sopressata, Seed to Sausage also sells these products; Lomo (Traditional or spicy), Lonzino, Pancetta Piana, Artisanal Bacon, Chorizo, Bresaola, Lomo, Lonzino, Copa and Capicola.
Recently, we got to talking about steak tartare and Mike shared the recipe he makes at home. I thought this might be a wonderful time to both regale you with tales of his impossibly delicious creations and share a tasty recipe straight from the Seed to Sausage family. Oddly, I know, this recipe doesn’t contain any Seed to Sausage product, but …you know… it just sort of happened that way. Besides, I like my S-to-S as pure as the driven snow, torn right from from a foot-long hunk out a paper bag in a field full of muddy people.
In all seriousness, get out there and find his product! You will be forever thankful that someone like Mike and the rest of his family are producing ethical, locally raised meats that make your taste buds sing with joy.
Steak Tartare with Warm Kettle Chips and Pickled Things
Recipe from Michael McKenzie
A note from Mike on preferred cuts of meat;
Use chuck or brisket for beefy flavour. Sirloin or tenderloin for mild flavour with smooth texture. Flank will have some bite to it. The point is that you can experiment, there is no need to be afraid of raw meat and you don’t have to stick with the traditional tenderloin. You can even try it with duck, lamb (awesome drizzled with good olive oil, fresh mint leaves and cottage cheese on the side) Even venison. But my go to is beef sirloin, tastes great, everyone has it and its not to expensive.
Note on Food Safety;
Just make sure you have a good butcher and that he keeps his place clean, let him know what you’re using it for too. Get a fresh cut and keep it cold. Same as you would for anything else you would eat
200g lean cut beef (I used sirloin)
1 large egg
1 tbsp chopped scallions
1 tbsp capers, finely diced
3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped fine
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
6 drops Tabassco
1/2 tsp ketchup, for some sweetness
a few grinds of pepper
pinch of salt
1 quail egg yolk (optional, for garnish)
Dice the beef up as small or large as you’d like. Many people prefer a very fine dice, but like Mike, I prefer a bit more texture. I chopped mine into 1/2” pieces.
Toss the beef into a bowl and keep cold while you prefer the rest of the ingredients. Throw everything together and give it a good stir. Taste to see if you want to add more of anything (I upped the original Dijon amount just a touch). Serve in a bowl or press into a 1-cup measuring cup (pack the tartare into the cup, place upside down on a plate and carefully pat the bottom until it releases). Make a small well in the top of the tartare and top with quail yolk.
- Slice a warm baguette into roungs, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle of flaky sea salt and bake for about 5-6 minutes, or until golden, in a 300 degree oven.
- Take a handful of your favourite Kettle Chips and warm them in the oven for about 2 minutes (a fantastic trick Mike taught me!)
- Cornichons (REAL cornichons - none of those sweet pretenders)
- Miscellaneous ‘pickled things’ (I has some cauliflower and carrots)
- Extra caper berries
- Micro-greens to top the Tartare
Shovel all that meaty goodness up and cram into your face! Or.. I mean… umm… eat mindfully. Yes.