Oven-roasted beef picanha recipe

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Soy sauce and beef is a combination that I really cannot get enough of, as you can see in Chapter I, but shoyu koji and beef take it to the next level! Picanha is relatively unknown outside South America, but is one of my favourite cuts of beef as it is super tender and juicy.

  • Yield: 12 Servings


For the Picanha
  • 2 lb 10 oz (1.2 kg) Brazilian beef picanha, whole piece
  • 5½ oz/1 cup (150 g) rock salt (do not use table or cooking salt or sea salt flakes)
For the Shoyu Koji, Lime and Garlic Dressing
  • 4 fl oz/½ cup(120 ml) Shoyu Koji, or buy ready-made from Japanese grocers or online, blended until smooth
  • 2 fl oz/¼ cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 fl oz/¼ cup (60 ml) lime juice
  • 2 fl oz/¼ cup (60 ml) tamari soy sauce
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely diced
To Garnish
  • sunflower oil, for deep-frying
  • 2 onions (approximately/10½oz (300 g), peeled and sliced lengthways
  • 1¾oz/1/3 cup (50 g) cornflour (cornstarch)
  • fine sea salt
  • ½ oz/1/3 cup (15 g) micro coriander (micro cilantro)
  • ½oz/1/3 cup (15 g) micro red amaranth or edible flowers
  • 1 tbsp toasted white sesame seeds
  • Maldon sea salt flakes, to taste
How to Make It
  1. If you are making the Shoyu Koji, you should make this at least 1 month in advance.
  2. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7. Preheat the oven grill (broiler).
  3. Heat enough sunflower oil in a medium-sized pan to deep-fry the onions to 160°C (320°F). Place a quarter of the sliced onions in a bowl, add 1 tbsp of cornflour (cornstarch) and mix well to coat the slices. Carefully lower into the hot oil and fry for a few minutes until lightly golden, then drain on kitchen paper (paper towel). They will not be crispy, but will crisp up when they are re-fried. Fry the rest of the onion in batches, then set aside, but keep the oil hot.
  4. Make the shoyu koji, lime and garlic dressing by mixing together all the dressing ingredients.
  5. Cut the whole picanha into 6 pieces, each about 200 g (7 oz) and 5 cm (2 inches) thick, keeping the fat on the upper surface of the meat. Place the picanha pieces over a rack with in a roasting tin (pan), so that the fat will drip into the tin (pan). Rub generously in the rock salt and roast in the preheated oven for 10 minutes flesh side up. Remove the tray from the oven, turn the picanha pieces over and place on a lower rack under the preheated grill (broiler), and grill (broil) for a further 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, re-fry the onions at 160°C (320°F), again in batches, then drain on kitchen paper (paper towel). They will only need about 30-60 seconds to gain a deeper golden colour and turn very crispy. Season with fine sea salt.
  7. Check how well done the meat is by squeezing it – I use the highly scientific ‘finger poke method’ to know when the meat is done. I like my meat pink (medium-rare), so the picanha should feel bouncy but firm, cooked for about 15-20 minutes in total. Alternatively, slice one picanha through its thickest part to check for doneness. Brush off any excess rock salt from the meat.
  8. Using the sharpest knife you have, slice the meat very thinly, ham thickness if you can. Place the slices in a row, preferably on a long rectangular dish, drizzle some of the shoyu koji, lime and garlic dressing over them, and top with the fried onions, micro coriander (micro cilantro), micro red amaranth or edible flowers, white sesame seeds and sea salt flakes. Serve immediately.

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