Fillet of Beef
The beef fillet is one of the most tender and delicous pieces of meat you can purchase. The cost of the fillet, especially if it is of the highest quality; organic and well marbled, sometimes frightens people off cooking it. Here are two ways I love to prepare fillet of beef, both of which are delicious and sympathetic to the cut of meat.
The other benefit of cooking fillet in either of these methods is that you only need a small amount to truly enjoy the full flavour of the beef.
I have two ways to approach the actual cooking for Fillet of beef which I turn to again and again – super fast Carpaccio (almost raw) or for a longer, gentler cook, Fillet Mignon roast. I love Carpaccio, but in fairness to others who are less excited by red meat, the roasting is a great alternative.
Carpaccio of Beef
Carpaccio of Beef is my absolute favourite way to serve Fillet of Beef. If you have time to make a rich homemade mustard mayonnaise and a tart Tomato and Caper salsa, it really sets off the silky texture of the meat and makes this a fabulous dish to share with friends.
1 fillet of beef – preferably organic
2 tablespoons mustard seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons thyme leaves
A few sage leaves
1 clove garlic
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 120°C
Carpaccio of beef makes a lovely entrée or even a main if served as part of a sumptuous antipasti platter. To prepare the fillet, trim off any sinew or fat. Use Kitchen twine to bind the fillet tightly, to keep all the juices in the meat and ensure an even cooking (albeit brief).
Rub the fillet with the raw garlic clove, pressing the clove into the flesh to lightly flavour the meat.
On a baking sheet, sprinkle out the herbs, salt, pepper and mustard seeds.
Roll the fillet onto the dry flavourings, pressing the meat firmly onto the flavourings.
Heat a heavy based frying pan (honestly you do need a Le Creuset pan for this, I'm not being silly, you just do) over a very high heat. Allow the pan to heat through until it is very very hot.
Lightly baste the fillet with the olive oil then cook in the hot pan, allowing the outside of the fillet to very briefly scorch, turning it on all sides for an even coat. Do not allow to overcook, the aim here is just for colour to caramelise the outer surface of the meat for added flavour.
Once the outer surface of the roast is caramelised remove from the pan and place on a baking tray. Cover with foil and place in the warm oven for just 5-10 minutes to allow the meat to relax.
Slice the meat in thin, yet generous slices, serve with tomato and caper salsa and homemade mustard mayonnaise.
For a simple Tomato and Caper Salsa: finely chop a garlic clove, small red onion, a couple of ripe tomatoes and tablespoon of caper berries. Add a tablespoon of raspberry vinegar, some very good olive oil and a few sprigs of thyme.
Fillet Mignon Roast
This is a great way to roast a lovely piece of beef, it keeps it moist and it looks a treat.
You can also use prosciutto instead of the bacon, it will become very crisp and delicious.
4-6 rashers of streaky bacon
Few sprigs of rosemary and thyme
1 clove garlic, crushed
Preheat oven to 150°C
To prepare the bacon, lay out the rashers on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Weave the bacon to create a sort of bacon blanket.
Combine the mustard, garlic and herbs and smear them evenly over the bacon and beef then wrap the bacon over the fillet.
Use a piece of rosemary stalk to secure the bacon to the fillet.
Baste the bacon with a little olive oil, place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Cover with foil and place in a low oven.
For a well cooked fillet, allow the beef to cook for at least an hour, then turn the heat up and roast off the bacon for about 10 minutes to get a good colour.
For a rare finish, bake for about 35 minutes then remove the foil and turn the heat up for a further 10 minutes to roast the bacon and get a good colour.
However you choose to cook your meat, always allow it to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.