Sunday 17 December 2017

Recipe of the day – The perfect summer salad

Rory O'Connell's Roast fillet of beef with roast peanuts, Asian dressing and coriander salad
Rory O'Connell's Roast fillet of beef with roast peanuts, Asian dressing and coriander salad

Rory O'Connell

Roast fillet of beef with roast peanuts, Asian dressing and coriander salad

WE may have reached September but the sun is still shining.  And what better way to celebrate than with a flavoursome, yet light enough meal.

For those worried about preparation times when they return from work, the sauce, dressing and salad leaves can be prepared the night before.

Best served medium to rare, fillet of beef is a small bit of a luxury, the most tender cut, but works well the accompanying salad. 


The salad should include one crisp type of lettuce and peanuts should be sourced with their skins on to add a depth of flavour.

The chilli used in the Asian dressing should be quite hot, such as a serrano pepper.


Serves four to six.


500-600g fillet beef, trimmed of all gristle

1 tbsp olive oil, for rubbing on the beef fillet

Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 handfuls mixed greens such as rocket, mizuna, Little Gem and watercress

1 handful mixed mint and coriander leaves

4 spring onions, finely sliced at an angle For the roast-peanut sauce 100g unskinned peanuts

1 tsp cumin seeds

4 tbsps water

1 tbsp peanut or sunflower oil

80ml chicken stock

Maldon sea salt For the Asian dressing 2 tbsps white-wine vinegar

1 tbsp ginger, very finely chopped

1 level tbsp garlic, very finely chopped

2 fresh chillies, seeds removed and very finely chopped

1½ tsps soft dark brown sugar

1 level tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

Maldon sea salt, to taste



Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. For the sauce, place the peanuts on a baking sheet and roast for about 25 minutes, until golden brown. Shake the pan occasionally to ensure that the nuts are browning evenly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. They do not need to be peeled.

While the nuts are roasting, dry-roast the cumin seeds briefly in a small frying pan and then grind to a fine powder. Place the cold peanuts in a food processor with the ground cumin and puree to a thick consistency with the water and oil.

Bring the chicken stock to a simmer and add to the peanut puree. The consistency should be similar to pouring cream. Taste and correct the seasoning. Reserve for later.

Mix all the dressing ingredients together, then taste and correct the seasoning.

To assemble the salad, turn the oven up to 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7. Heat a heavy ovenproof grill pan or roasting tin on the hob. The pan should be nearly smoking hot before you add the beef.

Rub the fillet of beef with the olive oil and put it into the pan. Allow it to brown all over, turning it occasionally to achieve an even colour. Season it with salt and pepper, then place it in the oven and roast for 15-20 minutes. Use a skewer to check how cooked it is.

Remove the beef from the tin and place it on a small plate which you have turned over, so it is the wrong way up; this plate should sit on a larger plate. This allows any juices that escape from the meat to drain off and be saved for later.

Lower the oven temperature to 100°C/ 200°F/Gas Mark ¼ and put the meat back in to rest for 15 minutes.

When ready to serve, toss the salad leaves and herbs in a large oversized bowl with just enough dressing to make the leaves glisten lightly. Place on hot plates or a platter.

Slice the beef into 1cm thick slices and lay over the leaves. Drizzle a little of the peanut sauce over the beef. Add any meat juices from the resting plate, too.

Add a final flourish of sliced spring onions and serve immediately, passing around the extra peanut sauce in a sauce boat.

From Rory O'Connell's book 'Master It: How To Cook Today'

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