Thickly sliced well-aged fillet of beef – generously seasoned and cooked to a firm, salty crust on the outside yet meltingly tender and pink within – really can't be beaten. Here I've served it with mashed potato and gently cooked chard. Place a pot of Dijon mustard on the table for those who wish to smear some on to their steak. This menu is easily adjusted to accommodate your number of diners.
6 thick fillet steaks, about 200g/7oz each
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp mild-tasting olive oil
Season the meat really well on both sides with the salt and pepper; the salt should form a loose crust. Place a heavy-based non-stick pan over a medium-high heat, add the olive oil and allow it to become really hot.
When the oil is almost smoking, lay the steaks in the pan, spacing them well apart, and turn down the heat slightly. Allow to sizzle undisturbed for three minutes, turn and cook on the other side for a further three to four minutes, according to taste.
Transfer the steaks to a warm plate and leave to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes before serving.
Fillet steak is an expensive rare treat, so make sure your butcher gives you a really good, well-aged piece. Look for meat that is dark-red in colour, with a light, even marbling of creamy fat through the flesh.