A dear Italian friend of mine and awesome cook taught me many years ago how to do this super simple and simply delicious, melt in your mouth fillet. It is a dish all my friends have recreated and I still get phone calls at odd times, asking for reminders on how to prepare it.
At first it seems like an unlikely combination to mix meat with vinegar but the sweet tanginess of the balsamic really compliments the flavour and its effect on the texture is awesome. Melt in your mouth like you cannot believe.
The secret is to keep the fillet as rare as possible as the acidity of the vinegar cooks it further and to get your oven or braai as hot as possible to build up a nice crust on the meat. It also lasts really well in the fridge and tastes phenomenal cold the next day.
800g of trimmed beef fillet
125ml of olive oil
125m of balsamic vinegar
30 - 40 fresh rosemary leaves, bruised
Marinate your fillet in the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and bruised rosemary leaves. Place the fillet in a snug container so the marinade can cover it and turn it every so often if you remember. I like to leave it for about 2 hours or so but longer is also fine.
When you are ready to cook the meat preheat your oven (or braai) on to top heat, as hot as you can get it. Remove the fillet from the marinade, place it on a baking tray and into the oven, reserving the marinade.
Grill the meat for about 15 to 20 minutes depending on the size of the fillet. Remove it from the oven and slice it into slices of about 1 – 2cm thickness. Arrange the slices onto a serving platter and pour the reserved marinade generously over the hot meat, return it to the oven for a further 5 minutes. You can then grind some salt and pepper over the top and serve immediately. The vinegar continues cooking the meat and gives a tenderness and flavour that is truly memorable.
Summer serving suggestion: crispy Mediterranean potatoes and rocket salad
Winter serving suggestion: Dijon mustard mashed potatoes and roasted root vegetables