The Federal's Cesar Zapata Shares the Creepiest Halloween Recipe Ever

The Federal Food Drink & Provision's chef Cesar Zapata is known for getting creative when it comes to recipes, so who better than him to ask for a creepy recipe that we can serve at our Halloween party this year.

We gave him three basic criteria: It had to look gross, it had to taste good, and it had to creep out our guests until they had that delicious first bite.

So here we have Zapata's so-called "Dracula's Dinner." It looks like guts, brains, and blood, but it's actually a deconstructed beef heart tartare with burnt carrots, roasted beets, and dehydrated black olives.

Burnt carrots


4 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4" thick

2 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a bowl, toss the carrots with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Working in batches if necessary, add the carrots in a single layer and cook without turning until they are charred on the bottom and almost burned, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn with a spatula and cook on the other side for 2 to 3 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary until they are crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside.

Roasted Beets


4 beets (peeled and ends cut off)

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1. Cut the beets in 1 1/2-inch chunks. Place them on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes at 400 degrees, turning once or twice with a spatula, until the beets are tender. Remove from the oven.

2. Place beets in a blender, add a little bit of water, and blend until pureed. Emulsify with olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Beef Heart Tartare


1 beef heart, trimmed of sinew and gristle

2 tbsp chorizo, ground & cooked

2 tsp salted capers, rinsed

2 tbsp shallots, small diced

1 tsp lemon zest, finely grated

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp olive oil

4 teaspoons fresh cilantro, chiffonade

4 teaspoons fresh chives, sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Cut the heart into ¼-inch pieces. In a mixing bowl, combine with capers, shallots, chorizo, lemon zest, and Dijon mustard. Mix and add olive oil, worcestershire, lemon juice, and herbs. Mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Tip: For additional creepiness, add dehydrated black olives for soil, raw quail egg yolks, and scatter beet juice for blood. Drizzle Mexican crema across the tray of gore for some added taste, aka ectoplasm.

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