Winter beef salad

Impress your guests with Alex Mackay's distinctly elegant starter, combining seared beef with a textured salad
By Alex Mackay
Winter beef salad
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: easy



  • 4 large cloves garlic, peeled and blanched twice
  • 4 slices beef fillet, each 160g
  • 8 peeled, cooked chestnuts
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 60 ml water
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

For the dressing and salad

  • 4 fresh cep mushrooms, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 80 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 sprigs sprig thyme, picked
  • 1 pinches black pepper
  • 1 small bulb fennel, very finely sliced
  • 8 radishes, long and finely sliced
  • 1 small bunch watercress


1. Cut each clove of blanched garlic into 6 pieces. Make 6 little incisions in each piece of beef filet. Push the pieces of garlic into the incisions and set aside. 2. To make the salad dressing, whisk together the Dijon mustard with the red wine vinegar and the water in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, picked thyme and season well with salt and freshly ground pepper. 3. Add the sliced fennel, radishes and cep mushrooms and turn gently until they are well coated with the dressing, then set aside. 4. Heat a large frying pan with the oil and fry the beef over a high heat for 2 minutes each side (this is to cook the beef rare - if you like it more well-cooked add a minute or two each side). When the beef is a minute away from being cooked, add the chestnuts to the pan. 5. Transfer the beef and chestnuts to a plate, drain off the fat and add the water to the pan. Scrape the bottom of the pan and boil for a minute, add 2tbsp of olive oil and season well. 6. To serve, toss the watercress with the fennel mixture, add the chestnuts and place onto a large platter. Slice the beef, lay it over the top and spoon over the beef juices from the pan.

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