I got so excited when I read about Lomo al Trapo – this is a Colombian specialty where a beef fillet is wrapped in a thick layer of course salt inside a dry cotton dishcloth and tossed straight onto the coals. Yep, dishcloth and all!
After a short while the wrapped cloth catches fire, allowing the fillet to cook within the salt encrusted layer. People when you light your next braai dare yourself to do something different…something adventurous…even cautiously reckless. I did, I took the original recipe and tweaked it a bit here and there. The outcome, as you break open the smouldering lappie and hardened, salted crust you will see a perfect medium rare steak with a salty outer layer. Just plainly awesome. Serve this with a gremolata or a bit or horseradish and you have a meal fit for a king.
First prepare your coals. Then proceed with preparing the fillet. As soon as you have wrapped and tied the fillet in the salt and herb-layered cloth, place it immediately and directly onto the coals. Do not allow the meat to stand in its salt-colth before cooking as this could make it too salty.
Beef fillet in a salted cloth
22 cm filet steak
250 ml red wine
3 garlic cloves, crushed
750g coarse salt
15 ml coriander seeds, finely ground in a pestle and mortar
5 ml black pepper, also finely ground in a pestle and mortar
10 ml freshly-picked rosemary leaves
One clean cotton dishcloth (that you are willing to sacrifice…)
String to bind the meat
Place the fillet, garlic and red wine in a basting pan and allow to marinade for two hours. Prepare your fire with a good quantity coals (wood or charcoal). Place the dishcloth flat on your work surface then spread the salt, herbs and spices evenly over the dishcloth. Remove the fillet from the red wine and pat it dry with paper towel before positioning it diagonally across the dish cloth. Then, tightly wrap the salt layered dish cloth around the fillet and bind with the string. Make sure you cover the whole piece of meat with salt. Place the wrapped-up fillet, cloth and all immediately onto the fire. In a few minutes it will catch fire. Braai the fillet for precisely eight minutes on each side and eight minutes on the other side. For best results, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of your meat: For medium-rare the internal temperature of the fillet needs to reach 55°C tot 60°C. Once you have taken the meat of the coals, break open the smouldering cloth, crack-open the salt cocoon. Let it rest for 10 minutes and serve with your favourite sauce on the side.