Valentine Day starter

What should you serve as a Valentine Day starter?

This is a novel way of eating Italian carpaccio, which would also be fantastic served as canapés. It is important to get a really good colour on the beef so that it almost forms a crust on the outside – this gives the dish its wonderful contrast of textures. This recipe is also delicious served with slices of avocado, shavings of Parmesan and roasted walnuts added.

Serves 2

Ingredients

For the beef rolls:

250g beef fillet, well trimmed

1 garlic cloves, sliced

½ tsp roughly cracked black peppercorns

1 thyme sprig, broken up

1 beetroots, peeled and julienned (on a mandolin is best)

½ bunch English radishes, julienned (on a mandolin is best)

50g fresh watercress sprigs

For the lemon aioli:

1 egg, at room temperature

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tsp white wine vinegar

Pinch of caster sugar

Finely grated rind of ½ lemon

1 tsp Dijon mustard

100ml (3 1/2fl oz) olive oil

100ml (3 1/2fl oz) sunflower oil

Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper

Creamed horseradish, to serve

Method

Rub the beef all over with the olive oil and place in a shallow non-metallic dish with the garlic, cracked peppercorns and thyme. Rub all over the meat and cover with clingfilm. Marinate for at least an hour at room temperature or overnight is best in the fridge.

To make the lemon aioli, break the egg into the food processor and add the garlic, half a teaspoon of salt and the vinegar, sugar, lemon rind, mustard and half of the olive oil. Secure the lid and whizz for 10 seconds.

Leave to stand for a couple of seconds, then turn on again and pour the remaining olive oil and rapeseed oil through the feeder tube in a thin steady stream. This should take 25-30 seconds. Switch off the machine, take off the lid, scrape down the sides, and whizz again for 2-3 seconds, then season to taste. Transfer to a bowl, then cover and chill until needed.

Heat up a griddle or frying pan. Brush the excess marinate off the beef and cook over a high heat for 5 minutes, turning frequently until the outside is well browned, then transfer to a platter and leave to rest for up to 30 minutes.

Slice the beef as thinly as possible and arrange on a serving platter. Serve alongside the creamed horseradish. Add small piles of the beetroot, radish and watercress, then roll up and dip into individual bowls of the lemon aioli.

For more inspiring Irish beef recipes, go to www.irishbeef.co.uk.

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