Thursday, June 25, 2009

Seared beef with mint and mustard dressing

Serves 4

Beef carpaccio is a one of those classic summer dishes that we tend to trust restaurants to take care of rather than risk at home ourselves. I quite like the idea of very rare beef that has just had its edges singed in the oven, a safe half way house between carpaccio and a full on roast; that way you get a good portion of rare flesh with the bonus of a crusty roasted edge. There are a couple of possibilities here; either serve it with a salsa verde of basil, garlic and parsley or make the mint dressing below, which is kind of like a Caesar salad dressing tarted up with the freshness of mint. Whatever you choose to dress it up with, you've got to have chips, big fat hot chips on the side are a must...

500g beef fillet (thick end)
½ tblsp Malden sea salt
1 tblsp black peppercorns
a little olive oil

For the dressing
1 heaped tblsp grain mustard
Juice of half a lemon
Small handful of mint leaves
4-5 tblsp olive oil
Lemon - to serve
Chips - hot and fat

Set the oven at 220c/gas mark 8. Crush the peppercorns roughly with a pestle and mortar and mix them with the salt. Rub the beef with a little olive oil then roll it in the seasoning, pressing down so that most of the salt and pepper sticks to the meat.

Warm 2 tblsp of olive oil in a roasting tin then put over the heat until the oil starts to sizzle. Brown the meat quickly on all sides then roast for 10 minutes only. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

To make the dressing, put the mustard, lemon juice, mint leaves and egg yolks in a blender and whizz for a few seconds. Pour in the oil, slowly, stopping when you have a dressing the consistency of double cream.

Slice the beef very thinly, and then spoon the dressing over at the table. Serve with lemon wedges, and those chips.