The vibrant green of the salsa verde makes for a striking contrast to the pink beef in Geoffrey Smeddle's excellent beef fillet recipe. This simple beef dish, developed for the Sunday Herald, is fantastic when served al fresco on a balmy summer's day. The spinach, basil, parsley, anchovies and capers make such a flavoursome sauce, you may want to make extra to use with other meals.
Geoffrey Smeddle, proprietor and chef of The Peat Inn in Fife, started his career working for Herbert Berger at The Café Royal and for Christopher Galvin in London. He then sealed his reputation as one of Scotland’s top chefs by opening Terence Conran's Etain, in Glasgow.
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Start by making the beef. Combine the chicken stock with the garlic, onion, carrots, thyme, rosemary, wine, peppercorns and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover for ten minutes to infuse
1000ml of chicken stock
1 bulb of garlic
1 small onion
2 2/3 handfuls of thyme
2 2/3 handfuls of rosemary
175ml of white wine
1 tsp black peppercorns
Season the beef generously with salt and lower gently into the poaching liquid. Adjust the heat to bring the poaching liquid back to a very gently simmer
600g of centre cut beef fillets
Cover with a lid and adjust the heat accordingly to maintain a gentle simmer. Add a little more water if necessary. Cook for 15-18 minutes for rare or 25 minutes for well done
Lift the beef out of the liquid and onto a plate with a slotted spoon then press gently. The beef should still feel fairly soft
Place the beef back in the stock, remove the pan from the heat, and leave the beef to sit in the liquid for 30 minutes. Take the meat out and allow it to chill on a plate
Whilst the beef is resting, make the salsa verde. Pick the basil and parsley, and pick the spinach leaves off the stalks
20g of basil
30g of curly parsley
80g of baby spinach leaves
Place all the ingredients except the spinach and herbs in a blender and process to a coarse paste
1 small tin of anchovies
2 eggs, boiled
2 tbsp of cornichons, and 1 tablespoon of the liquid
1 tsp capers, with 1 teaspoon of the liquid
100g of breadcrumbs
Add the herbs and just enough olive oil to blend into a thick paste – you can choose how much you add, rather like a pesto
150ml of olive oil
Finally, taste, season with salt and pepper and add a dash of sherry vinegar
100 dashes of sherry vinegar
To serve, slice the beef. Arrange in overlapping circles on a platter then season well with olive oil, sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
To finish, drizzle the salsa verde over the beef so the meat is evenly dressed. Serve immediately
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