Recipes, Beef Recipes

Rare roast topside of beef w/ tonnato dressing

Taking inspiration from one of the all-time classics of Italian cuisine. Here, rare roasted topside of beef is sliced and served cold with a dressing of tuna, anchovies, and capers. A wonderful lunch for many to share.

The dish from which this recipe takes its inspiration is vitello tonnato – a classic Piedmontese dish. If you’ve never eaten it, then you should make it your mission to do so. It is veal, poached, cooled, sliced, and served with this wonderful fishy, salty dressing. Head to the north and, in particular, Piedmont for the dish in its truest form.

Here we are using beef and roasting rather than poaching the meat, which I have no doubt would be causing eyebrows to raise in Piedmont. But the basic principle of salty, fishy dressing being a great seasoning for lean and tender meat is what we are tapping into here. It works extremely well and makes a superb centrepiece to a summer lunch table.

Close-up of rare roast topside of beef with tonnato dressing served in a white serving dish.

Serves 5-6


For the dressing

Shop the ingredients


For the topside:

  1. Remove the topside from the fridge and its packaging and allow it to come up to room temperature, for at least 2 hours before you want to cook it.
  2. Preheat your oven to 200°C.
  3. Season the topside well with fine sea salt and rub all over with a little olive oil.
  4. Place the topside on an oven tray and transfer to the oven. Set a timer for 10 minutes.
  5. Reduce the heat to 140°C and then cook for a further 40-45 minutes.
  6. Remove the topside from the oven and leave to rest and cool for about an hour.

For the tonnato dressing:

  1. Place the anchovies, tuna (including the oil), capers, lemon juice and egg yolks into a food processor. Blitz until fairly smooth.
  2. Keep blitzing and start adding the olive oil in a steady stream so that it emulsifies with the other ingredients.
  3. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
  4. Once the topside has cooled completely, then, using a very sharp knife, slice as thinly as possible. Let the slices sit for 10 minutes, as they may release some juices, then lay them on a platter and dress, liberally, with the tonnato dressing, followed by a sprinkling of capers.
  5. Dress the rocket with lemon juice, olive oil and salt and then scatter over the dish.