Tataki of tuna, where the fish fillet is seared on the outside, cooled and then served in slices - the main part being raw, but with the contrasting crust of the outside giving it textural interest - gave me an idea for this recipe. Treated in precisely the same way, best Scottish beef fillet yields the perfect meat to eat cold. There is no sense of it being raw, only succulent and melting. Presented on a salad of rocket dressed with truffled olive oil and with Parmesan cheese curls shaved over, it is aesthetically as captivating as it is good to eat.. a perfect balance of flavours, colours and textures.
Truffled olive oil, which is infused with the essence of white truffles (tartufi bianchi), is expensive, but a little goes a long way. It is particularly good with rare cold meat as here, but also makes a lovely dressing for warm new potatoes.
If the meat is in the fridge, bring it out well in advance of the meal to give it time to come to room temperature • Preheat the grilling pan to very hot and have ready a large bowl of iced water • Brush the fillet with a little olive oil and rub all over with salt and mignonette pepper.
Lay the fillet on the grilling pan and give it 60 seconds on each side, including standing it on its two broad edges (4 sides in all), turning with tongs.
Refresh in the iced water and pat dry with paper towels. Leave to cool, then refrigerate.
Holding Point - the beef can be kept like this in the refrigerator for several days.
When ready to eat, remove the meat from the fridge. Wash the rocket and spin it dry. Put into a bowl, pour over the truffled oil and balsamic vinegar and toss to coat each leaf. Mound a pile of gleaming leaves on each plate.
Carve the fillet into, say, 12 thickish slices at an angle of 30 degrees. Distribute them equally on top of the rocket.
Using a potato peeler, shave curls of Parmesan cheese over the top.
© 1993 Alastair Little and Richard Whittington estate. All rights reserved.