Beef fillet with biltong crust, nasturtium pesto, onion and pumpkin seed salad, and butter-fried maize (pap) squares

Beef fillet with biltong crust, nasturtium pesto, onion and pumpkin seed salad, and butter-fried maize (pap) squares

Lientjie Wessels, the renowned South African artist and culinary icon, inherited her passion for food from her mother, who also taught her to think out of the box when it comes to cooking – a lesson that spilled over into Lientjie’s everyday life with her husband, Robert Denton, as they spend their days writing, painting and, of course, cooking on their family farm near Cullinan.

This recipe forms part of our feature on Lientjie  Wessels in our September 2018 issue.

Beef fillet with biltong crust, nasturtium pesto, onion and pumpkin seed salad, and butter-fried maize (pap) squares

Ingredients

  • FILLET

  • 1kg beef fillet
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 60g cake flour
  • 2g (1 tsp) dried rosemary
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 100g biltong powder
  • BUTTER-FRIED MAIZE (PAP) SQUARES

  • 300g mealie-meal, cooked according to packaging instructions
  • 50ml fresh cream
  • 50g Parmesan, grated
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 50g salted butter
  • NASTURTIUM PESTO

  • 80ml (⅓ cup) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 50g Parmesan, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 15 – 30 nasturtium leaves + extra, to garnish (optional)
  • ONION AND PUMPKIN SEED SALAD

  • 2 onions, peeled and sliced
  • 2g (1 tsp) dried mixed herbs
  • 4g (1 tsp) white sugar
  • 30ml (2 tbsp) white wine vinegar
  • 60ml (¼ cup) extra-virgin olive oil
  • pinch salt, to taste
  • 19g (2 tbsp) pumpkin seeds, roasted + extra raw seeds, to garnish

Instructions

1

For the fillet, preheat the oven to 180˚C. Season the meat to taste. Set aside.

2

Combine the flour and dried rosemary together in a large bowl. Add the seasoned meat and toss until completely coated in the flour mixture. Dip the meat in the beaten eggs and then roll it in the biltong powder. Transfer the meat to a baking tray. Roast in the preheated oven, about 20 – 25 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to rest, about 10 minutes.

3

For the butter-fried maize (pap) squares, mix the cooked mealie-meal, cream, grated Parmesan and seasoning together in a large bowl. Transfer the mixture to a medium-sized, square baking dish, smoothing the top with the back of a spoon. When ready to serve, cut the maize-mixture in squares. Heat the butter in a small pan over medium heat. Once melted, fry the maize-squares in the butter until browned on all sides, about 3 minutes per side.

4

For the nasturtium pesto, place the 80ml (⅓ cup) extra-virgin olive oil, along with the remaining pesto ingredients in a food processor. Blitz until combined and semi-smooth.

5

For the onion and pumpkin seed salad, place the sliced onions, mixed herbs, sugar, vinegar, 60ml (¼ cup) extra-virgin olive oil and salt together in a bowl. Stir until well combined. Set aside to marinate, about 1 hour. Stir in the roasted pumpkin seeds just before serving.

6

To serve, cut the fillet into thick slices. Serve the fillet with the nasturtium pesto, onion and pumpkin seed salad, and butter-fried maize (pap) squares. Garnish with the extra raw pumpkin seeds and nasturtium leaves, if desired.

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