The next time you’re craving beef but you feel like saving a few bucks, why not try beef heart? Heart is a muscle, not an organ, so it has a steak-like quality that people who are squeamish about organs will be cool with. I developed this recipe years ago when I was at Mistura; it’s a cross between a steak dish and a carpaccio. Serve it as an appetizer at your next party and see if anyone notices what cut it is. This recipe calls for the heart to be barbecued, but you can absolutely sear it in a hot frying pan instead.
Preheat the barbecue to high.
Using a sharp knife, clean the beef heart thoroughly of all its connective tissue, fat, and veins. Set the heart flat on a cutting board and cut it evenly on a bias into ¼-inch slices. Season with the vinegar, salt, and pepper, then rub in 2 Tbsp of the oil. Set aside.
In a medium frying pan, heat 2 Tbsp of the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, lemon zest, and chili flakes and sweat. When the garlic starts to toast, add the celery, capers, and anchovy paste. Sauté for another 2 minutes, then add the bread crumbs. Stir frequently until the bread crumbs are toasted, then remove from the heat and set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix the fennel and arugula with 2 Tbsp of the oil and the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Toss well and set aside.
Place the heart on the grill over very high heat, turning the slices once to get a good char on each side. Try to keep it slightly pink in the center. Remove from the grill and keep warm.
To serve, arrange slices of heart in a circle like a carpaccio on four plates. Scatter the bread crumbs evenly over top. Arrange the salad on top, then scatter the cheese over each plate. Serve immediately.
Beef heart, when sold whole, is usually butterflied open, exposing the veins and connective tissue. You can easily remove these yourself, but feel free to ask your butcher to do it for you.