Adapted from a dish Geoff Lindsay of Pearl Restaurant in Melbourne demonstrated at the Epicurean Cookschool several years ago.
600 grams centre cut eye fillet of beef
40 grams mixed black and white peppercorns
10 grams Szechuan peppercorns
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
150 grams caster sugar 250 grams rock salt 50 ml brandy
Black Olive Oil
50 grams Ligurian olives, pitted
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
500 grams slim round beans 2 tablespoons pesto
50 grams sun-dried tomatoes, sliced thinly
50 grams small wild pickled onions cut into quarters – optional
Trim the fillet of beef of all fat and silver-skin.
Roughly crush all the peppercorns in a mortar and pestle and spread on a tray with the thyme. Roll the beef in the peppercorns, coating evenly.
Combine the sugar, salt and brandy. Put the beef in a container and pack the sugar mixture under and around the beef so that it is completely enclosed. Refrigerate and turn every 12 hours for up to 48 hours. Remove and scrape off the cure. Pat the meat dry with kitchen towels.
Black olive oil: Blend the olives and the oil in a food processor. Strain through a fine sieve, pushing the olive paste through to form a thick oil.
Beans: Trim the beans and push through a bean slicer – this will give you beans in thin strips. Otherwise, leave the beans whole. Blanch them in boiling, salted water until just tender. Drain well. Mix a little hot water into the pesto to thin it down, and toss it through the beans along with the sun-dried tomatoes and the onions.
To serve: Thinly slice the beef and arrange on a serving platter. Arrange the beans alongside and drizzle the beef with the black olive oil. Serves 6-8
Small, wild pickled onions in balsamic vinegar are available in good supermarkets and food stores.
Szechuan Pepper: the dried berry of a prickly ash tree, Szechuan pepper is a mildly hot spice with a distinctive flavour and has a slightly numbing effect in the mouth if used in large quantities. Available from Asian food stores.