Italian Fillet

Something nice and meaty is a welcome treat. Fillet is always popular; it is easy to slice and serve; there is no wastage. The idea of cooking fillet in salad dressing may sound strange, but it gives the beef a superb flavour. Do try this recipe: it is easy, and looks fabulous.

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Serves 8


1 – 1.5 kg beef fillet, trimmed
2 cloves garlic, crushed
15 ml mustard powder
Freshly-ground black pepper
1 bottle Italian salad dressing
15 ml cornflour
15 ml prepared mustard
15 ml medium-cream sherry
250 ml low-fat cream or thick natural yoghurt
45 ml finely chopped parsley
Small bunch watercress


1. Preheat oven to 220ºC/200ºC fan/Gas mark 7.
2. Place fillet on a board, and flap the thin tail part under the main part of the fillet, to form an even-sized and uniform, thick piece of meat. Tie up the fillet with string at 3 cm intervals.
3. Rub fillet with crushed garlic, mustard powder and black pepper. Allow to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour.
4. Place into roasting pan.
5. Pour salad dressing over fillet.
6. Roast for exactly 20 minutes for rare beef fillet; or until done to your taste.
7. Remove meat from pan. Cover with aluminium foil, and then a thick tea-towel. Allow to stand for 10 minutes for rare and 20 minutes for medium-done meat. This step is prior to carving.
8. Mix cornflour to a paste with a little water; add to meat juices in the pan, and cook over a medium heat to thicken.
9. Stir in mustard, sherry and cream or yoghurt. Mix thoroughly. Allow to simmer, and the sauce to amalgamate.
10. Immediately before serving, slice fillet, pour sauce over, and garnish with chopped parsley and watercress.


• This fillet is excellent hot or cold. Slice in paper-thin slices. Try to catch all the compliments!
• Remember well-done meat is always 80% tougher than rare or medium-done meat.