Carpaccio is very thinly sliced raw meat. I like mine Italian-style, with the meat sliced a little more thickly. This makes it a bit more rustic and you can really taste the quality of the meat. I also like to sear the meat very quickly before slicing it up, as this gives you a contrasting encrusted edge of flavour. It’s lovely with this marinated bean salad – you can simply use green beans, or a mixture of different ones.
You don’t need loads of meat for this, just a couple of slices per person, which should allow you to spend a little more on a good-quality piece of beef.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Drop in the beans and cook for about 5 minutes. When perfectly done, drain them in a colander.
To make the marinade, mix the chopped shallot or onion in a bowl with the herbs, mustard, vinegar and 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then add the hot cooked beans and toss. Put to one side to allow the beans to cool down and take on all the fantastic flavours.
Place the beef fillet on a chopping board and season it all over with salt and pepper. Run the thyme sprigs under hot water for a few seconds – this will help to release their fragrant oils. Strip the leaves from the stalks and chop them up roughly. Sprinkle the thyme over the fillet, then roll the meat around the chopping board so that any excess seasoning and herbs stick to it.
Get a heavy frying pan very hot and add a splash of oil, followed by the beef fillet. Fry for 1 minute only, turning it every few seconds to sear and encrust all the lovely flavourings on to it. Take the meat out of the frying pan and put it on to a plate to rest for a minute. (Once seared, you can serve straight away or you can keep the meat covered on a plate until needed. I prefer not to keep it in the fridge.)
Slice the seared fillet with a sharp knife. Lay each slice on a board and flatten as much as you can by pressing down on them with the side of a chopping knife – it works a treat. Lay two or three slices out flat on each plate. Season again lightly and place a pile of beans on top, spooning over some of the marinade. Sprinkle over any leftover herb leaves and drizzle with some good extra virgin olive oil.