I love veggies, I really do. But I love them even more when they’re the supporting act for a thick, juicy steak. How very blokeish of me. Sirloin, rump, rib eye – the rich beefy awesomeness of these cuts is such that you need do very little to them. A smoking hot pan, some olive oil, salt, pepper and maybe a tiny knob of butter towards the end are all they require. The same can unfortunately not be said for fillet.

Now I know this will be tantamount to sacrilege for many, but for me fillet is the most boring, disappointing part of a cow (yeah, meat comes from cows people). Wrap it in a puff pastry blanket with a buttery duxelle of mushrooms and it’s not half bad. But as a steak, it needs a little something extra to make it interesting… like a sauce thick with cream, tangy with lemon and just a touch spicy with Dijon mustard, wholegrain mustard and mustard micro leaves.

If you’re banting/low-carbs-high-fatting, serve it with some tender asparagus or green beans. I prefer it with chips (French fries) because I have zero discipline when it comes to food. But to show I’m at least a teeny tiny bit classy, I cut them real small and even, and crumble over some deep fried rosemary.

All you need is…

400g beef fillet (or 500g or 600g if you’re feeling greedy!)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbs olive oil, for frying
3 tbs water
juice of half a large lemon
6 tbs fresh cream
1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 heaped teaspoon wholegrain mustard
micro mustard leaves (optional, Pick ’n Pay stocks it)

Heat a thick-based stainless steel pan – it must be HOT. Add the olive oil. Lightly season the fillet on all sides with a pinch or two of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sear the fillet on all sides to ensure it’s sealed. Turn the heat down slightly and fry, turning occasionally to ensure it cooks evenly, until it’s caramelised and cooked to your liking (though really, the rarer the better in my view). Remove the steak, cover with foil and set aside to rest for a few minutes.

Deglaze the pan immediately with the water and lemon juice. (Make sure all the lovely caramelised bits on the bottom of the pan are lifted, it’s pure flavour.) Stir in the cream and mustard. Add any of the liquid that was released during resting to the cream sauce, add black pepper and salt to taste (it will need quite a generous pinch of salt), boil for 20-30 seconds and you’re good to go. Serve sauce sprinkled with mustard micro leaves if you’re using them.

serves

2

prep

0 min

cook

20 min

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tips, tricks and trivia

More cream sauce options…
  1. Leave out the lemon and mustard and replace it with a generous shot of brandy and a tablespoon of green peppercorns.
  2. Fry button mushrooms in butter until done (keep them whole if they’re very small, or slice finely if they’re bigger). Add to the lemon-mustard sauce.

enjoy with

I prefer a red with steak. Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz or a Bordeaux blend is just fine by me. But because this cream sauce contains lemon, a red with a more definite acid base would be my choice. Try a Sangiovese or a Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir is a temperamental little madam in the vineyard, so it’s an expensive cultivar – R350-R600 for a bottle is not unusual.

Creation in the exquisite Hemel-en-Aarde valley makes a very decent one at a pocket-friendly R182. Now normally I keep well below the R100 mark for my wine recommendations, but fillet is occasion food, so go a bit wild with the wine too.

Creation

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Ook beskikbaar in: Afrikaans