Beef Wrapped and Roasted in a Herb Infused Salt Crust Dough Recipe
This superbly delicious recipe utilizes preferably high-quality beef (such as beef tenderloin), which is first seared to lock in its flavor and is then wrapped in a crust infused richly with salt and a mix of herbs. The result is a very tender and flavorful piece of meat, one which has a brilliant and rich taste, which accentuates rather than overwhelms the original cut of meat. As a prestige piece for the center of a good meal, it provides an excellent dish, although to be fair, with an appropriately good cut of meat it takes real work to make it anything less than stellar. I haven't yet made this with a poorer cut of meat, but I encourage you to try and experiment and see if equivalent results can be attained!
In the case of the recipe, various elements are conditioned around the fact that I had only had access to three individual pieces of meat, rather than a single unitary one. If you are using a singular piece, I advise making appropriate changes and interpreting what I propose to deal with that appropriately.
While this recipe is inspired by Simply French by Patricia Wells, I personally changed around quite a significant number of components in the original recipe to improve it. I consider it to have been too salty - while there is a good and important objective with using the salt of the salt crust to enrich the flavor of the meat, I personally don't like the same degree of salt in the food. It might, however, have stemmed from the nature of the meat which I had which was split up into three pieces instead of one, and which hence increased the surface area. Regardless, however, I was still of the opinion that the degree of salt could be reduced, and that also the various other herbs could be increased in quantity to produce a richer and more balanced flavor.
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 4 teaspoons + 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- 2 cups flour
- 2 large egg whites
- 2/3 cups water
- 1.5 lb boneless beef, (in my case, it was split into 3 sections and my recipe is designed around that configuration)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 egg yolks
- 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
- black pepper, to taste
- This step should be prepared well in advance, as allowing it to rest makes the rolling out of the dough much easier. Combine together the kosher salt, 4 teaspoons dried thyme (or 4 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves if available), and 3 sprigs rosemary, and blend until mix. Add egg whites and the 2/3 cup water, and mix until blended. Then add the flour in 1/2 cup components, keeping on doing so until a firm and not excessively moist and sticky crust crust is formed. Then cover with plastic wrap, and allow to sit for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
- Pat the beef to dry it, then heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet and bring to a high temperature over moderately high heat. Then add the beef and sear it on all sides, for 203 minutes. Allow to rest for 5 minutes, on its angled side so that it cooks throughout, evenly.
- Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to form a 10x15 inch rectangle, or at least large enough to easily enclose the beef.
- Sprinkle the beef with the remaining thyme, then wrap in the dough, pressing the seams together. Transfer the wrapped beef to a baking sheet, and coat with a glaze composed of 1/2 teaspoon of water and 1 egg yolk, and sprinkle with sea salt.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, to produce a light, golden brown crust, and a medium rare interior. Let it rest at room temperature for 2 hours before serving: the beef will remain warm with the crust protecting it.
- Slice off the crust at one end, remove the beef from it, discard the crust, season the beef with pepper, and slice it. Serve immediately. on a serving platter.
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