Sliced Seared Fillet Steak Salad with Pickled Chicory

Rick Stein makes the most of melt-in-the-mouth fillet steak by serving it extremely underdone, but with a highly seared spiced crust
By Rick Stein
Sliced Seared Fillet Steak Salad with Pickled Chicory
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes plus 24 hrs for steeping
  • Effort: easy


  • 10 g sichuan peppercorns
  • 10 g black peppercorns
  • 10 g sea salt
  • 350 g thick beef fillet
  • 2-3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 25 g wild rocket

For the salad dressing

  • 1.5 fish sauce
  • 3 water
  • 1/2 granulated sugar
  • 1/2 freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 arrowroot
  • 5 piece of spring onions, very thinly sliced

For the pickled chicory

  • 15 fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1/4 medium-hot Dutch red chillies, halved lengthways and deseeded
  • 40 granulated sugar
  • 150 white wine vinegar
  • 1 red or green chicory
  • 1 salt


1. For the pickled chicory, cut the ginger and red chilli into 2.5 cm long, thin matchsticks. Put them in a pan with the sugar and vinegar, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Tip into a shallow plastic container and leave to cool. Meanwhile, break the chicory into leaves, then cut each leaf in half and thinly slice the core. Place in a colander set over a bowl and toss with the salt. Leave for 2 hours to soften. Stir the salted chicory into the cold spiced vinegar, stir well, cover and set aside in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Discard the salty liquor left behind in the bowl.

2. For the beef, put the Sichuan peppercorns and black peppercorns into a mortar and grind to a coarse powder. Add the salt and grind a little more. Set aside 1/2 a teaspoon of the mixture for the salad dressing and sprinkle the rest over the base of a large baking tray.

3. Brush the piece of beef fillet all over with the oil, then roll it in the salt and pepper mixture so that it takes on an even coating. Heat a char-grill, ridged cast-iron skillet or heavy-based frying pan until hot. Brush with a little more oil, then add the beef and sear it on one side for about 2 minutes. Give it a quarter turn and sear for another 2 minutes. Continue like this, turning maybe once or twice more, until it is richly browned all over but still very rare in the centre. Set aside to cool.

4. For the dressing, put the fish sauce, water, sugar, reserved salt and pepper mixture and lemon juice into a small pan and bring to the boil. Slake the arrowroot with a tiny amount of water, stir in and simmer for 1 minute. Pour into a small bowl and leave to cool.

5. To serve, carve the beef across into thin slices and arrange it on 4 large plates. Drain the pickling liquid from the chicory and place a small pile alongside the beef, together with a small pile of rocket leaves. Stir the spring onions into the dressing, spoon a little over the beef and a little more around the outside edge of each plate.

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