Beef & lamb cookbook, 80pp.
by Elisabeth Pedersen
CJ Publishing, Auckland, 1994
Cooking on page 32
I was pleased to find this book in an op shop in Levin, New Zealand. The price tag has fallen off, but I think it cost $1.50. Not bad for a book in the New Zealand Good Food Series.
The author, Elisabeth Pedersen, was a New Zealand Herald food columnist for many years, as well as a food specialist for the country’s Beef & Lamb Marketing Bureau.
She has written quite a few cookbooks, including ones on soups, seafood and a collection of recipes from her columns.
This one is all about speedy and tasty ways with meat.
Thai beef salad
600 g well-trimmed beef fillet or rump, rare-roasted, barbecued or pan-grilled
1 or 2 small red chillies (or 3 large milder ones), fresh or frozen
1–2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 teaspoon brown or white sugar
2–3 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
3 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander leaves, stalks and (optional) roots
cucumber, shallots or spring onion, fresh mint and coriander, red chillies
lettuce, cherry tomatoes
Remove stalk ends from chillies. Split lengthwise. Scrape out seeds. Very finely crush chillies, garlic and sugar (easily done with a Thai heavy stone pestle and mortar.
Mix with lime or lemon juice, water and fish sauce. Add chopped coriander. The dressing looks best freshly made when coriander is bright green, but flavour improves on standing.
Arrange cooked sliced beef on a platter with slice cucumber. Optional: add little lettuce leaves and cherry tomatoes. Drizzle some dressing over the beef. Garnish with thinly sliced shallots or spring onion, fresh mint and coriander, and a little very thinly sliced fresh red chilli. Serves 4–6.
How it played out
I had a beautiful piece of beef fillet that needed some true TLC (tender loving care). It was about 2-cm (1-inch) thick. So I followed the author’s tips for preparing the beef (luckily, the tips just happened to be on page 32).
First I brushed it with oil and added lots of freshly ground black pepper, then let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Next I heated (but did not oil) a ridged iron pan. When it was good and hot, I reduced the heat a bit and added the oiled beef. Cooked each side for 4–5 minutes, removed from pan, covered with foil and let stand until cool. Then I sliced across the grain.
While the beef cooked and rested, I had plenty of time to prepared the dressing, garnishes and optional ingredients. My only change was to use palm sugar in place of brown or white sugar.
We don’t eat huge amounts of meat. When we do, I like to use a recipe with flair and oomph. This one is perfect—completely perfect. Poor John and I greedily fought over the last bites.
There was plenty of dressing leftover for other uses. I added some to a dip, dribbled some on a baked potato and ate a spoonful all by itself because it was just so darn good.
Make it, enjoy it, let me know what you think of it. I love it and will make it whenever I buy a deserving piece of beef. Would be a good party dish!
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