An eye fillet of beef (tenderloin) is generally regarded as the most premium cut of beef you can get. Exceptionally tender and lean, beautiful when cooked well, it can behave badly when treated without care. Which is a relatively common experience.
Over cooked eye fillet becomes tough and tasteless. And given the cost of purchasing such a high end cut, this is a tragedy. It generally should be served somewhere between rare and medium rare. This is something I’ve always struggled with. I’m pretty good at cooking a nice piece of sirloin (porterhouse) or an aged piece of rump steak, but eye fillet fills me with terror. The line between under and overcooked is just too fine!
Until my wonderful mother-in-law passed on this recipe for slow cooked eye fillet. Marinaded for 24 hours, then cooked slowly in the oven at a low temperature before a decent rest period, this beef is perfectly rare throughout, tender and flavoursome. Best of all, the process is easy to follow and virtually fool-proof.
SLOW COOKED MARINATED EYE FILLET
Whole eye fillet of beef, approx 1.5kg
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
- Mix together oil, vinegar and herbs in a non-reactive dish, large enough to hold the beef fillet
- Rub fillet with the marinade and leave in the fridge, covered overnight
- Pre-heat the oven to 70°C
- Remove eye fillet from marinade, pat dry, and place on a rack over a roasting dish
- After 3 hours, use a meat thermometer to check whether the internal temperature has reached 56°C (this is important to ensure the meat remains rare).
- At this point, remove from the oven, rub the meat liberally with salt, wrap in three layers of tinfoil and leave to rest for an hour.
- Optional: at this point the meat will look very pale, but will be evenly coloured internally. If you prefer a charred look on the outside (which I do), heat a barbeque or cast iron griddle to a very high heat. Quickly sear the meat on all sides until coloured as desired.
- Carve to desired thickness and serve.