Cornwall LivingIssue #90

Get cooking

A full-bodied and flavoursome dish from Executive Head Chef Christopher Archambault at The Headland Hotel and Spa.

Served as a main at the hotel’s two AA Rosette Samphire Restaurant, this dish combines the rich flavour of feather blade beef with earthy mushrooms and butter, perfectly complemented by foraged Cornish sea spinach. Head Chef Christopher tells us: “There are super healthy foods springing up from the ground everywhere you walk around the Cornish coast. Sea spinach leaf is everywhere, from the fresh spring shoots to large wintery leaves. It’s healthier than spinach and cooks better, so get picking!”



1 trimmed whole feather blade of beef

Curing salt

1 bottle of full-bodied, quality red wine, reduced by half and chilled

1 small bunch of thyme

3 bay leaves

4 cloves of garlic

80ml Cornish extra virgin rapeseed oil (or extra virgin olive oil)

Freshly ground black pepper


Beef or chicken stock to cover (optional)

3 or 4 good handfuls of choice picked sea spinach leaves or large leaf spinach

200gm trimmed girolles or other in-season wild mushrooms

2 whole white onions, topped, tailed and roasted in a medium oven until fully cooked



  • Cure the feather blade lightly by covering evenly with curing salt for 4 hours. Rinse well and pat dry. Season with freshly ground black pepper
  • In a large vac-pack bag, combine the blade, red wine, thyme, bay leaves, garlic and oil
  • Seal well and place in a water bath at 70°C for approximately 15 hours or until it’s tender to the touch. The inner central seam of the blade must be meltingly tender. Chill in ice water until fully cooled
  • In lieu of a water bath or circulator, cover all the ingredients bar the oil in a large lidded casserole dish (or slow cooker) with hot stock and braise in a medium oven for 3 to 4 hours until fully cooked. Strain the stock and use for gravy
  • Remove the blade from the bag or casserole dish and slice into uniform ‘steaks’
  • Serve immediately from the oven, or if you employed the sous vide technique, use a
    hot pan and brown well with oil and butter on one side. Finish in a medium oven to warm through
  • Slice the onions in half, season, drizzle a little rapeseed oil and char well with a blowtorch or caramelise in a hot pan with butter
  • Use a hot dry pan and quick flash the sea spinach until it starts to wilt down. Add a little butter and seasoning to finish
  • Use the same pan and cook the mushrooms in the French style; high heat sizzle to release the moisture, evaporate, butter it up, season and serve



Divide the sea spinach between the six plates and mount each slab of blade. Share the mushrooms out and artfully arrange the charred onion. Sauce with the gravy if you went for a traditional braise or make a quick beefy vinaigrette with the vac pac juices. Salsa verde or even just a lemony garlic parsley butter would more than suffice. Tipple of choice has got to be a red, such as Pinot Noir.



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