Fillet of beef

Serves 6

This is a really good way of cooking beef. Although the cooking time sounds very brief, the resting time is what is important – this will give you beef that is pink but not rare.

1kg/2lb beef fillet, trimmed
Sea salt and black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil

Heat the oven to 240C/450F/Gas8. Season the beef really well with salt – I do mean generously, for the salt will give the beef a lovely crust. Season with pepper.

Place a pan large enough to hold the beef over a high heat on top of the stove. Once the pan is really hot, pour in the oil – it should sizzle. Now lay the beef in the pan and cook without turning for three to four minutes, then turn and brown the underside for a further four minutes. Transfer to a roasting tray and place on the middle shelf of the oven for 15 minutes, then remove. Once the beef is cool enough to handle, remove from the tin and wrap in plenty of aluminium foil, three to four layers thick. Place in a warm spot – just above the oven is perfect. Leave to sit for half an hour, before slicing and serving. Cut into generous one-inch slices and serve with the dauphinoise.

For the gravy

1 tbsp Dijon mustard
375ml/13fl oz full-bodied red wine
Salt and pepper

I don't like meat that is covered with thick sauces; I find them too heavy. I think it's hard to cook out the flavour of the flour used for thickening – it's too cloying altogether. To make this delicious, thin gravy, once the beef has been removed from the pan, pour off the fat into a dish and place over a medium heat on top of the stove. Add the mustard and stir well, to gather all the juices from the base. Pour over the wine and stir again, then simply let the wine reduce by a third. Taste for seasoning and serve in a jug alongside the beef.

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