Peppered beef fillet with beetroot salad


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

A Simple Table

A Simple Table

By Michele Cranston

Published 2016

  • About

I will state right now that this is a bit of an odd recipe, and I’ve encountered many a quizzical friend who has watched me cooking this and found themselves wondering aloud whether I knew what I was doing. Fortunately, there is a certain method to my madness.

The surface of the beef is covered in pepper and then left in the fridge to form a dry crust, which magically means it doesn’t need to be seared, just cooked in a very hot oven. The timings are quite precise, so I always write them down on a post-it note and stick it next to the oven in case I start chatting to guests and lose the rhythm of what I’m doing. Rest assured, the beef is always perfectly cooked and early doubts are soon dismissed.


  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 900 g (2 lb) beef eye fillet, trimmed
  • 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) beetroot (beets)
  • 2 red capsicums (peppers), cut into 2 cm (¾ inch) pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 rosemary sprigs
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 80 ml ( fl oz/ cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses or balsamic vinegar
  • 90 g ( oz/2 bunches) rocket (arugula), rinsed and trimmed
  • horseradish cream, to serve


Rub the pepper over the beef. Put the beef on a tray and leave it in the refrigerator, uncovered, for at least one night but preferably two.

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Bring the beef to room temperature before cooking.

Lay a large sheet of heavy-duty foil on the work surface. Using rubber gloves, peel the beetroot and cut it into 2 cm (¾ inch) cubes. Put the beetroot cubes on the foil along with the capsicum pieces, garlic cloves, rosemary sprigs and bay leaves. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and drizzle with a little of the olive oil. Wrap the beetroot up in the foil to form a sealed parcel, and place it on a baking tray. Cook for 40 minutes, then remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Put the room-temperature beef fillet in a roasting tin and roast for 10 minutes, then turn the fillet over and roast for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and season with sea salt, then cover with foil and rest for 15 minutes.

Unwrap the roasted beetroot and capsicum and transfer to a bowl. Add the pomegranate molasses and remaining olive oil and stir to combine. Arrange the rocket leaves on a platter and top with the dressed beetroot and capsicum.

Put the horseradish cream in a serving bowl. Drain any juices from the roasting tin and stir them into the horseradish cream.

Remove the foil and return the fillet to the oven for a further 15 minutes, then remove and cut into thick slices. Serve the beef with the beetroot and capsicum salad and the horseradish cream. If you like, serve with crispy roast potatoes or the potato bake.