Seared scotch fillet with mozzarella, pea and tomato salad

Seared scotch fillet with mozzarella, peas and cherry tomatoes.
Seared scotch fillet with mozzarella, peas and cherry tomatoes. Photo: William Meppem

This is ideal for summer dining, with plenty of freshness, flavour and satisfaction, and all for minimal effort. The charred beef against milky fresh mozzarella, young raw peas, sweet tomatoes and fresh herbs is a winning combination. With the shopping done, you can make the salad in the time it takes to cook the steaks. You can plate up the salad individually, too, with the steaks whole or sliced.


4 x 250g scotch fillet steaks, at room temperature*

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

4 lemon cheeks, to serve

Dijon mustard, to serve

For the salad

½ white onion, finely sliced in half-moons

salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

pinch of sugar

3 tbsp flavourful, quality extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp natural yoghurt

3 large fior di latte (or buffalo mozzarella balls), torn roughly

1½ cups fresh baby peas (or frozen peas blanched for 1 minute, then drained)

1 punnet vine-ripened cherry tomatoes, larger ones halved

20 basil leaves, torn

2 sprigs fresh tarragon, leaves only

¼ bunch chives, chopped

1 tbsp white wine vinegar


1. Preheat a barbecue on high or a griddle pan for 5 minutes over high heat until very hot.

2. For the salad, season the onion with salt, pepper and sugar and set aside to soften.

3. Season the steaks well and coat with the oil. Cook for 2½ minutes on both sides for medium rare. Remove from heat and rest.

4. Combine 2 tbsp oil with the yoghurt in a bowl, season. Mix through the mozzarella and tip onto a flat serving bowl.

5. Toss the peas, tomatoes, herbs and softened onion with the vinegar and remaining 1 tbsp oil. Season to taste, then tip over the mozzarella.

6. Serve with the steaks – either whole or cut into slices – with the lemon and mustard on the side.

*Tip: The key here is to make sure the meat has come up to room temperature and your barbecue or griddle pan is super-hot. If the steaks are fridge-cold, your grill won't have enough time to properly seal and caramelise the meat. Additionally, if you crowd the cooking surface, the heat will drop, and you'll stew rather than char.