Pigeonhole’s Lamb Tartare with Smoked Castlevetrano Olives and Shallot Crema

Yield: Serves 2

We love beef and bison tartare, but we couldn’t be happier to be asked if we could get the recipe for Pigeonhole’s lamb tartare. This is one very impressive and delicious dish – many thanks to Chef Douglas King for sharing his recipe!


120 g meat from leg of lamb

4 Castlevetrano olives or similar meaty green olive

Parmesan cheese for garnish

Burnt Soy Vinaigrette:

¹/ ³ cup plus 1 Tbs (100 mL) dark soy sauce

55 g green onion

½ cup and ¹/ ³ cup (200 mL) olive oil

1 Tbs (15 mL) lime juice

Shallot Crema:

6 whole shallots, cut in half

50 g crème fraiche

100 g mayonnaise

2 tsp (10 mL) apple cider vinegar

Pickled Shallots:

1 small shallot, cut into rings

1¼ cups (300 mL) red wine vinegar

200 g white sugar

¹/ ³ cup plus 1 Tbs (100 mL) water


  1. Trim the meat of all fat and sinew. Cut lamb into bite-sized pieces, ensuring that the meat is treated delicately and is left as intact as possible. Place into a mixing bowl, and pour the burnt soy vinaigrette over the meat. Allow the vinaigrette to season the meat and gently move the tartare to two separate serving plates.
  2. Lightly smoke the olives (unsmoked is fine), pit, and tear into rustic, bitesized pieces.
  3. Place a few dollops of the shallot crema around the meat, and garnish with the torn olives and pickled shallots.
  4. Finish with a fine rasp of Parmesan cheese and serve with crackers or grilled bread.
  5. For the burnt soy vinaigrette:
  6. Char the green onion on a charcoal grill or in a very hot oven until burnt. Blend with soy sauce, strain, and mix with olive oil and lime juice.
  7. For shallot crema:
  8. Place shallots cut side down on a sheet tray and roast in a hot oven until lightly caramelized. Blend with remaining ingredients until smooth, check for seasoning, strain, and reserve.
  9. For pickled shallots:
  10. Heat the red wine vinegar, white sugar, and water to a boil. Pour over the shallot rings and let cool.

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