I first made this braised oxtail and spring vegetable salad 17 years ago in my days at Mr Pontac’s in the City and had completely forgotten about it until the judges for the Great British Menu recommended that I change my starter and it popped into my head again.
For the oxtail
1kg oxtail, cut into 3-4cm thick pieces and trimmed of any excess fat
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
A few sprigs of thyme
50g flour, plus a little extra for dusting
2tsp tomato purée
100ml red wine
2 litres beef stock or a couple of good quality stock cubes, dissolved in 2 litres of hot water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salad
A handful of pea shoots
A handful of small salad and herb leaves such as silver sorrel, bittercress, amaranth etc
60g peas, shelled weight, cooked
80-100g broad beans, shelled weight, cooked
For the dressing
1tbsp cider vinegar
1tsp English mustard
3tbsp extra virgin rapeseed oil
First braise the oxtail. Pre-heat the oven to 220/gas mark 7. Season the pieces of oxtail and lightly dust them with flour. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, turning them halfway through to make sure they’re nicely coloured on both sides.
Meanwhile, heat the 60g butter in a saucepan and gently cook the onion, garlic and thyme for 3-4 minutes until soft, stirring every so often. Add the flour and tomato purée and stir well. Gradually add in the red wine and stock, stirring well to avoid lumps forming, and bring to the boil. Add the pieces of oxtail then simmer gently on a low heat for about 2 hours.
Check the pieces of oxtail. The meat should be tender and easily removed from the bone; if not, replace the lid and cook for another 15 minutes or so. Drain the oxtail in a colander over a bowl to reserve the sauce.
When the oxtail is cool enough to handle remove the pieces of meat from the bone and place in a saucepan with a little of the sauce.
Make the dressing by whisking all of the ingredients together and seasoning. Toss the salad leaves, peas and broad beans with the dressing and arrange in the centre of the serving plates.
Reheat the oxtail a little and spoon piles around the salad with a small amount of sauce just coating the meat then spoon a little more dressing over the oxtail. Mark Hix goes head to head against Michael Caines on ‘Great British Menu’ from Monday to Friday 11 May, at 6.30pm on BBC2Reuse content