Weekend Herald - Canvas
Beef fillet with ratatouille
Cooking time: 1 hour for ratatouille, 20 minutes for beef, plus resting Ready in 15 minutes
1 whole beef fillet (1.8-2.2 kg), trimmed A little Dijon mustard and soy sauce 1 Tbsp olive oil
Flaky salt and ground black pepper
2 large onions, finely chopped
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbsp tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1.3 kg tomatoes, cored and quartered 1-2 eggplants, diced in 1.5cm chunks 5-6 courgettes, cut in 1cm slices 2 peppers (red and/or yellow), chopped
2 Tbsp sugar
1½ tsp salt
1 tsp coarse black pepper
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp port or sweet sherry (optional) ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
TO GARNISH (optional) Pesto or salsa verde
In a large pot, heat the oil and cook the onions slowly until translucent. Add the tomato paste and garlic and cook, stirring until the mixture smells aromatic, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, along with ½ cup water. Cover and cook for 30 minutes over low heat, stirring now and then.
Add sugar, salt, pepper, vinegar and port or sherry, if using, and simmer uncovered for a further 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender and the mixture is juicy. Adjust seasonings to taste, and mix in basil leaves. Take off the heat and leave to cool.
While ratatouille is simmering, pre-heat oven to 220C fan bake. Rub the meat all minutes is exactly right amount of time to get a rare-to-medium rare result for a fillet of this size but if you want to check with a probe thermometer, it will be 50-55C for rare, or squeeze in the thickest part — the meat should feel just slightly springy in the thickest part.) Remove from oven, cover with tinfoil or baking paper, put a couple of tea towels on top and allow to rest for at least 20 minutes, or up to an hour, before carving.
Serve ratatouille and meat at room temperature or just warm. Garnish if desired with a dollop of pesto or salsa verde. Leftover ratatouille will keep in a covered container in the fridge for 4-5 days or can be frozen.
Match this with ... Mcarthur Ridge Southern Tor Central Otago Pinot Noir 2020 ($36)
Okay, bear with. This wine won gold at the Decanter World Wine Awards, a trophy at the London International Wine Challenge and was awarded Champion Pinot Noir at the NZ International Wine Show 2022, so if you’re looking for a Central Otago pinot noir with enough depth, intensity and playful perkiness to pair with this dish, you’ve driven into the right cul-de-sac, my friend. Boasting deliciously defined floral notes, lifted spices and cherry on the nose, followed by tamarillo and hedgerow fruits on the palate, this is a youthful, succulent, beautifully balanced style that bursts with personality and immediate drinkability, and yet shows great cellaring potential as well. blackmarket.co.nz
— Yvonne Lorkin