Whisky-cured fillet of beef Carpaccio with radishes


If you think this sounds posh and very much a restaurant dish you’d be wrong. It’s a terribly simple starter or, maybe when served with a little crusty bread, light meal that’s essentially very thinly-sliced raw beef. It’s hardly cooking at all.
The name Carpaccio allegedly comes from the fact that the colour of the meat is similar to a particular red used in the paintings of the Italian master Vittore Carpaccio (whose real name, I understand, was Scarpazza which, if used by the artist, would have changed the name of this recipe).
The beef’s marinated for an hour or so in whisky. Therefore, depending on the whisky you choose will affect the flavour. I particularly like using a peaty Islay malt.
Serves four
400g of best beef fillet – trimmed of any sinew
Two teaspoons of black peppercorns
Flaked sea salt
Sugar
Some good whisky – preferably a malt
Six to eight radishes – washed with stems and roots left on
A couple of handfuls of watercress
Wholegrain mustard
Oil for sealing the meat
Crack open the peppercorns using a mortar and pestle or, if you don’t have one, use freshly-ground black pepper. Place the pepper in a bowl along with a teaspoon of the flaked salt, a teaspoon of sugar and two tablespoons of whisky. Mix well and add the fillet of beef; coating all sides with the mixture. Cover with clingfilm and allow to marinate for an hour or two, turning or shaking occasionally. Remove and allow to drain but don’t remove the pepper coating.
Heat a frying pan, add a little oil and seal the fillet on all sides. Remove, allow to cool a little and then roll it up in a square of clingfilm and twist up the ends tightly until it resembles a firm sausage. Place in the fridge for an hour or so to set.
Make a dressing by combining a teaspoon of the mustard with a little more whisky, a little salt and pepper and a couple of pinches of sugar. Slice the radishes, roots and stems included, as thinly as possible. We use a mandolin but you could use the thinnest slicing blade of a food processor or even a very sharp knife.
To serve, slice the beef as thinly as possible, arrange on plates and season lightly with a little flaked sea salt and black pepper. Place watercress and radishes on top and dribble over the dressing.

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