Peter Gordon recipe: beef pesto
To celebrate 15 years in his role as chef-patron of one of London's best restaurants, The Providores, Peter Gordon shares his recipe for his signature dish, beef pesto
“This was our hallmark dish at the Wellington Sugar Club, and now, twenty seven years later, it features on the menu at The Providores in Marylebone and at The Sugar Club in Auckland. I have no idea how I came up with the idea of marinating beef in soy and vinegar (it even sounds odd now I think about it), but people would come into the restaurant just to have it. When we first opened The Sugar Club in London in 1995, we would get New Zealanders phoning up to ask if I was the same chef that had created Beef Pesto in Wellington, and would we please put it on the menu for their birthday, wedding, anniversary etc. It may sound a little odd, but then I’m told so much of my food is, but it really works. You could use ready-made pesto, or make your own from my recipe below.” – Peter Gordon
Peter Gordon's Beef Pesto
1 piece of mid beef fillet, trimmed, about 1.5kg
400ml tamari – wheat-free soy sauce, (or 500ml soy sauce)
400ml cider vinegar
1 red chilli, moderately hot
12 cloves of garlic, peeled
¼ cup grain mustard
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
350ml olive oil
½ bunch silverbeet, about 400g, shredded thinly, stems and all, and washed well to remove dirt
3 zucchini, julienned
2 medium-sized raw beetroot, peeled and finely julienned
200g black olives
1 cup basil pesto*
1.Marinate the beef at least two days in advance.
2.Put the tamari, 120ml cold water, 250ml cider vinegar, the chilli and six cloves of the garlic into a blender and purée to a fine consistency for 30 seconds.
3.Lay the fillet in a long dish, just large enough to hold it, and pour the marinade over it, cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge. Every 12 hours, turn the beef over to expose all of it to the marinade. It can be left to marinate for up to 4 days.
4.An hour before you cook the beef, take it out of the marinade and drain well, then dry with a cloth.
5.Cut it into 8 equal pieces and leave to sit until you’re ready to cook it.
6.Blend the remaining garlic, remaining 150ml cider vinegar, grain mustard, salt, pepper and olive oil until smooth and pour into a large bowl.
7.Bring a large pot of boiling salted water to the boil, add the silverbeet and stir well.
8.After 30 seconds, add the zucchini and stir, and after 1 minute drain it in a colander. The silver beet and zucchini can be steamed if you prefer.
9.Tip the hot vegetables into the bowl with the garlic dressing and stir well, add the beetroot and stir that in, then leave the bowl in a warm place for 5 – 10 minutes
10.Heat up a skillet or a grill to a high heat. Lightly oil the fillet on the cut sides and, for the best flavour, grill for no more than 2 minutes on each side.
11.Divide the beetroot salad amongst 8 warmed plates.
12.Sit a piece of fillet on top, place the olives around it and drizzle with the pesto.
*For the pesto
Enough for a good-sized jar
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 loosely packed cups of fresh basil leaves
½ cup loosely packed cup of mint leaves
1 cup of roughly chopped flat parsley
350ml olive oil
120g pine nuts, lightly toasted
120g finely grated Parmesan
extra virgin olive oil
Put the garlic, herbs, olive oil and pine nuts into a food processor.
Purée to a coarse paste.
Tip into a mixing bowl and stir in the Parmesan.
Stir in enough extra virgin olive oil to get the pesto to the consistency you want.