Lightly seared beef with capers, rocket , parmesan and a citrus dressing

Its not often I have a relatively large piece of excellent fillet steak in the fridge but when I do this is my go to starter. It is wonderful for relaxed course around the table before a light pasta main course – prawn bucatini is an excellent choice which only needs a side of an apple, fennel and celery salad.

The beef is first seared lightly to caramelise the outside of the beef and give it a lovely brown colour while leaving the inside moist and juicy. It is sliced thinly – don’t worry it will batten out nicely if you knives are not razor sharp – and served dressed with a lovely assortment of flavours – you can change these to suit you taste. The key to this dish is a beautiful piece of meat, you don’t need much but it does need to be top quality.

Serves: 4-5 as a starter with bread

For the beef
200-300g of fillet steak preferably in a barrel shape – I used the end of a fillet but the centre is better to get an even cooking)
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp olive oil
half a lemon (save the zest for the beef)
1 tsp chopped parsley
Salt and pepper

To serve
1 tbsp capers, roughly chopped
zest of the lemon
2 tbsp rocket
shaved parmesan
Ciabatta, focaccia or other fresh bread (not sliced)

Method – this should be made at least 2 hours before you want to serve it.
Take the meat out of the fridge at least 30 mins before you are going to cook it, to allow it to come to room temperature. Season really well on al sides with salt and pepper. Heat a frying pan and add the oil, when it is really hot add the beef and sear on all sides for around a minute a side (4 in total), ensuring that you get a good colour and don’t have any pink showing on the beef. Remove it from the heat and immediately wrap tightly in clingfilm in a barrel shape. Put on a plate in the fridge for 45 mins and then move to the freezer for another 15 minutes.

Make the dressing by adding salt and pepper to a jug, add the olive oil, parsley and lemon to taste and mix well.

When you are ready to serve, slice the beef thinly to get nice rounds. If they are too thick put a piece of cling film on top and bash them out gently with a meat mallet. Lay the met onto a long narrow plate, scatter over the capers, lemon zest, rocket and shaved parmesan. Drizzle over the dressing and serve with freshly baked bread and a green salsa if you wish.


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