Peppered Fillet of Beef

This recipe is best when roasted on a spit, but it can also be grilled, broiled, roasted, or smoke-cooked in a covered grill.

It is perfect served either at room temperature or slightly chilled (if the weather is hot), and is an excellent way to prepare individual pepper fillets in advance to be finished off quickly in the oven, on a grill, or in a broiler at the last minute.

Serve with the cipollini onions and white beans.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole beef fillet, trimmed of excess fat and silver skin, tied up with string
  • ¼ cup black peppercorns (Tellicherry, Lampong, or Malabar)
  • ¼ cup white peppercorns
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cognac
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt

Method

Grind the peppercorns very coarsely and put them in a small mixing bowl. Add the olive oil, cognac, and thyme, and mix together.

Spread the pepper mix all over the fillet, then cover it and let it marinate in the refrigerator for 4 hours. Take the fillet out and let it come to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Salt the beef, put it on a rack in a pan and then in the oven. Turn the heat down to 400 degrees, and bake for about 30 minutes for medium rare, or until the internal temperature is 125 degrees. Let the fillet sit in a warm place for 15 minutes before slicing.

Variations

If you are partially cooking the fillet to cut it into individual portions before finishing the cooking, cook it only 20 minutes, let it cool, and cut across the fillet to make “medallions” that are 6 to 8 ounces each. Then broil or grill them to order. In Singapore, these medallions were a big hit served with Montpelier butter and asparagus tempura. I love this beef with the ketjap dipping sauce.

Or slit the fillet down the middle lengthwise without cutting all the way through, and stuff it with ½ cup of a dried boletus (cèpe, porcini) mushroom puree made by soaking the mushrooms in water and then pureeing them. Then tie the whole fillet back up with string, peppering it and cooking it as above.

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