Naomi Pomeroy's roast beef browns beautifully because she adds sugar to the mustard-seed crust, which helps the meat caramelize. The salsa, made with roasted tomatoes, is a great, healthy sauce, though you can serve the beef with a drizzle of balsamic instead.
3 pounds plum tomatoes, sliced crosswise 1/3 inch thick
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons whole thyme leaves, plus 2 teaspoons chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
1/2 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
1/2 tablespoon coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon allspice berries
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 beef eye of round roast, trimmed of all visible fat
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Watercress, for garnish
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 250°. On 2 large rimmed baking sheets, toss the tomato slices with the oil. Arrange in a single layer, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the thyme leaves. Bake for about 1 hour and 30 minutes, until the tomatoes are very firm and partially dried; rotate the sheets halfway through baking. Let the tomatoes cool slightly, then coarsely chop them.
In a bowl, combine the chopped tomatoes, chopped thyme, parsley and the balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
In a small skillet, toast the mustard and coriander seeds with the allspice berries over moderate heat until fragrant and lightly browned, about 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder and let cool completely; grind to a powder. Stir in the sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Rub the mixture all over the roast and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, turning occasionally.
Preheat the oven to 400°. In an ovenproof skillet just large enough to hold the roast, heat the vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the beef; cook over moderate heat until browned all over, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the skillet to the oven. Cook the roast, turning a few times, for about 30 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 120° for rare. Transfer the roast to a carving board to rest for 15 minutes.
Thinly carve the roast beef across the grain and arrange on a platter. Garnish with the watercress and serve with the tomato salsa.
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