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Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Pink Beef Fillet Wrapped in Pancetta, On Cavolo Nero & Roast Garlic Aioli

- You ll need;
a good, hung piece of beef really.
'Pink' beef is what people in britain apparently call the young tender bovine meat you d get in italy or greece, its not veal but older and has had a nice life albeit shortish, and it is basically not the old fattier beef that you d get in the british isles but younger fruitier tasting lighter and indeed sweet, depending on the quality, of course.

This recipe works with either ends, be it marbled fattier beef or lean veal. Its hard to get it wrong.
The point of it is to combine the sweetness of the pancetta juices with the black cabbage / cavolo nero / tuscan kale whatevah you want to call it, and using the pancetta to moisten a very lean piece of meat .

- You get a good size piece of fillet, one or two slices about 4-5 cm thick. If less reduce cooking times.
1 bunch cavolo nero or thick older spinach if cant find kale.
2 big cloves of garlic.
sprinkling of chili flakes or black pepper.
mild olive oil.
thin sliced pancetta, smoked. You ll need enough to wrap around your beef/ veal.
1/2 twig of fresh rosemary
3-4 leaves of fresh sage.

* for the roast garlic aioli *
- eggs, good ones, about one per person if you like your aioli
- mild olive oil,  or groundnut oil, or sunflower or canola oil
- bit of lemon
-bit of garlic , a couple of cloves at least.

The principle is;

- You blanch the cavolo nero in some salted boiling water, for a couple of minutes max.
You rinse under a cold tap, for quite a while, so it retains its nice green colour. the cold water helps.

-You sear your fillet piece, in a super hot pan, with some rosemary / sage and chili flakes and black / mixed pepper and salt. When its sealed well on all sides, and the outside is becoming browned all over, you take off the heat.
You rub some garlic on the fillet, half-cut cloves, and put them on a shallow or open tray.

You sit the fillet on some slices of pancetta. Wrap them round, to form a parcel-ish construct. a  Union Jack shape is what we need -dont get me wrong here, i m using it as a schematic purely ..-

put the piece in a hot 200 celcius oven, for 10 minutes - if you want your fillet over done leave it for 2-3 minutes more but dont complain to anyone ever for dryness. By the way the red liquid oozing from a rightly cooked steak is not blood, its just protein.

 Basically, the pancetta keeps everything moistened with its sweet fats, and the rosemary sage etc is infusing the meat.

-Just about when the steaks are done, sautee the blanched cavolo nero  - let a garlic clove fry a little in a pan in medium heat and then add the greens. sautee for a minute or two until you see the garlic about to brown too much.

 Let the meat cool down, and slice.
Place slices on the cavolo nero, add the garlicky water/ juice thats sitting brewed around the cavolo nero around the plate.

Roast garlic aioli on the side. *

* For the aoili;

stick 2-3 cloves of garlic, unpeeled, in the oven in a pan with enough water to cover half the cloves. cut bottom touching the pan / immersed in water - leave at 180 for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile - one egg yolk , add a tad of lemon juice , bit of salt and pepper, and start dripping mild olive oil or canola or groundnut oil, very very slowly while whipping it vigorously with either 2 forks, or an egg beater.
-VIGOROUSLY in the beginning.
By the time you ll have added about 1/2 cup of oil, the mayonnaise should be getting pretty tight and solid.
Add water if you need to thin it down. By the droplet.

When its at a satisfying ratio / egg - per oil - flavour, add the garlic and stir. Make sure the roast garlic is by now cold, or the warmth will cook the egg and spoil your entire evening.

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