Beef fillet with parmesan basil béarnaise

A beef fillet is as impressive as it is easy to cook and serve for a crowd. Nici has paired it with a unique take on a béarnaise, which goes beautifully with the beef for a great Christmas meal.

By Nici Wickes
  • 15 mins preparation
  • 40 mins cooking
  • Serves 12
  • Print


  • 2 kilogram beef eye fillet
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 whole garlic bulbs, tops removed or halved
  • 500 gram vine tomatoes
  • 1 cup black olives
Parmesan basil béarnaise
  • 2 egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 75 gram parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped and lightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt plus a decent grind of black pepper
  • 3/4 cup sunflower oil
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil


  • 1
    Preheat oven to 220°C and place a large, shallow roasting dish in to preheat.
  • 2
    Allow the beef fillet to come to room temperature before cooking it. Rub with oil and then sprinkle liberally with salt.
  • 3
    Place the fillet in the hot oven dish and sear for 3-5 minutes, turning to brown all sides. Reduce oven to 200°C.
  • 4
    Sprinkle the thyme and pepper onto a large chopping board. Remove the hot fillet from the dish and use tongs to roll it through the pepper and thyme before returning it to the oven. Add the garlic bulbs and tomatoes to the dish, then cook for a further 35 minutes. Poke the meat with your finger to check how 'done' it is. When cooked to medium-rare, the fillet ought to have tightened somewhat but still have some give in it. See the note and keep checking every 5 minutes from the 35-minute mark.
  • 5
    When ready, remove the fillet and cover with foil and a folded tea towel. Rest it for 15 minutes before slicing. Add the olives to the roasting dish with the garlic and tomatoes, and keep this warm until you're ready to serve.
  • 6
    Serve the beef with oven-roasted tomatoes, garlic and olives, drizzled with pan juices and Parmesan basil béarnaise on the side.
Parmesan basil béarnaise
  • 7
    Place the egg yolks, lemon juice, Parmesan, mustard, basil, salt and pepper in a food processor, or a jug if using a stick blender. Blend until smooth.
  • 8
    With the processor running, slowly pour in the oils to make a thick emulsion. Season to taste.
  • 9
    Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. It will keep for up to 2 weeks.


• Cook the eye fillet on the BBQ, searing all over, then close the lid and cook for a further 20-40 minutes, depending on your preferred 'doneness'. • I use the rule of roasting for approximately 12 minutes per 500g for medium-rare or 16 minutes for medium.

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