Often people shy away from cooking recipes that appear complicated but on closer inspection the elements that make up the dish are often quite simple. The complexity is a ruse in the stylish plating up.
My beef carpaccio is a perfect example of this. Here, I combine simple flavours and good quality ingredients to create a visually pleasing and appetising starter – most of which can be prepared a day in advance. Beef and tomato is an age old flavour combination so there is nothing new here, however I have added an interesting twist. Tartare is usually made using beef but I have turned this on its head by mixing humble diced tomatoes with the flavours that you would normally find in a traditional beef tartare. I am sure that your guests will almost be convinced that it is actually beef!
As always, I love to see my dishes prepared in kitchens across Edinburgh so if you give any of the elements a try, tweet me a wee photo @markgreenaway
Ingredients – serves four
280g centre cut beef fillet
2 plum tomatoes, skin and seeds removed
A drizzle of olive oil
2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
4 gherkins, diced
1 large shallot, diced
½ lemon, juiced
A dash of Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon of mustard – which ever type of mustard you prefer
A splash of tabasco
100g finely grated parmesan
Season the beef with a generous amount of salt. In a smoking hot pan sear the beef fillet on all sides. Whilst the beef is still hot wrap well in Clingfilm and chill for 2 hours. Slice the beef as thinly as you can and lay 4-5 slices on greaseproof paper to create a rough round shape and lay another piece of greaseproof paper on top. With a rolling pin roll the greaseproof paper so the beef trapped between the sheets gets nice and thin.You will need to make a large round of beef for each diner, so 4 in this case – just repeat the last 2 steps 4 times. Freeze for 1 hour. Remove the upper layers of greaseproof paper and with a large round cutter, cut out the beef so you have 4 large rounds, alternatively you can just cut large squares or rectangles
Dice the tomatoes as finely as you can and drizzle with olive oil. Add most of the capers (reserve some for garnish), the diced gherkins, the shallot and the lemon juice. Add a little of the chopped parsley (reserve some for garnish). Mix through the Worcestershire sauce, mustard and tabasco. Leave this to rest out of the fridge for a good hour before serving.
Preheat oven to 185C. Sprinkle the parmesan evenly over an oven tray lined with greaseproof paper. Cook in the oven for approximately 7 minutes or until the parmesan has melted and is golden brown. Remove the tray from the oven and whilst the parmesan is still hot, cut it into squares. Reserve in an airtight container until needed.
Finely shredded celeriac or parsnip
Reserved parsley and capers
4 gherkins, sliced
Small bunch of baby herbs
Lay the beef carpaccio on each plate. Press some of the tomato mix into a small round cutter to form a disk as in the picture. Scatter some of the capers and sliced gherkins around the dish along with the finely shredded celeriac or parsnip. Scatter over the remaining parsley, some baby herbs and a little sea salt. Scatter the parmesan crisps allowing roughly 4 per person.
Please note: fillet is expensive so this recipe works just as well with beef rump or sirloin as long as your butcher removes all of the fat and sinew for you.