Last week my friend Ferne asked me what we were having for Christmas lunch. I said we were having a cold buffet and mentioned a recipe for roast beef with a fresh herb dressing that I was thinking of doing from an old Women’s Weekly cookbook. It’s perfect for a summer buffet.
I haven’t made it for quite some time but said I would dig it out. Ferne said if you find it, please send it to me. I have about 30 Women’s Weekly cookbooks – they were all the rage in the 70s and 80s – and typically it was in the last one I opened, called Celebration Cookbook. Here is my slightly adapted version.
Roast Beef with Fresh Herb Dressing
1 whole beef eye fillet, weighing 1.5-1.8kg, trimmed of fat and sinew
1 Tbs whole black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
2 Tbs vegetable oil
Whole flat parsley leaves to garnish
1 Tbs chopped parsley
1 Tbs chopped fresh chives
3 green (spring) onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon or 1 tsp dried
1 Tbs capers, chopped if large
2 tsp drained canned green peppercorns
1 tsp hot English mustard
1/2 cup tarragon or white wine vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil or olive oil
1 tsp sugar
Preheat oven to 180°C. Trim beef, tie into a neat shape with string. Roll in peppercorns and press them in. Heat butter and oil in a roasting pan. Add beef and cook briefly all over until sealed. Place beef in the oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes for medium-rare, or until cooked to liking. A meat thermometer is useful for getting it right and should read 55°C for medium-rare. Remove from the oven, cool to room temperature, remove string. Slice beef thinly and arrange on serving dish in overlapping rows. Top with dressing, garnish with parsley leaves. Serve remaining dressing separately.
Dressing: Place all ingredients in a jam jar with a lid and shake vigorously.
Serves 10-12 as part of a buffet.
Note: Beef can be cooked and dressing made the day before serving. Store both in the fridge well covered.