Penman Butchers, Crail

May 24, 2013

It has been a couple of weeks since my last visit to Penman Butchers in Crail.  My last trip was in search of some lamb leg for a spiced, slow roast dish as part of a curry night with the guys.   Predictably, I had given in to the temptation that is a very well presented counter and ended up with a few extras for the freezer.  Alas, with that all gone, it was time for another trip to satisfy a very different need – fast food.

Our social calendar has been somewhat hectic in the last few weeks and this weekend gone was no exception.  Straight from work on Friday to see the Crail Festival’s Salsa Celtica gig in Crail followed by a kids party Saturday morning (ouch) followed by a lunch with friends.  I had predicted that a good lunch with good company and good wine would inevitably lead to an entire afternoon/early evening of socialising, so had wisely planned to stock up on something fast, simple, nutritious and tasty for Saturday night’s dinner.  It had to be steaks with new season asparagus.

I was very impressed with Penman’s during my last visit – everything had obviously been sourced, prepared and displayed with care and pride and I was hoping for more of the same.  Wasn’t disappointed.

J B Penman, Crail Butchers
Inside Crail’s famous butcher’s shop!


Now, fillet steak may not be the most exciting or flavoursome cut around, often bringing out a sigh or exclamation of the passé amongst us foodie types, but I maintain that, with the right quality and cooking treatment, it is still a thing of joy.

It was great to see Keith behind the counter, still bouncing with enthusiasm – and quite rightly so.  Penman’s is a fantastic shop, with a wide range of quality, locally sourced meats, pies and preserves that will get soon get anyone with the slightest interest in food equally enthused.

Just as before when I bought the lamb leg, the whole fillet, beautifully trimmed, was brought out for me to choose the side and size of the cuts I wanted.  Two generous  1 ½ inch pieces for the other half and myself, two hearty 1 inch pieces for the offspring.   I may not be the carnivore that I was in my late teens, but even now good quality, raw fillet makes my mouth water.

I had the foresight to leave these out of the fridge in a cool room so that they’d be ready to cook as soon as I was back – and just as well.  My predictions were correct and several hours and glasses of Rioja more than planned,  we made it back for our dinner.

Fast food at its finest
Fast food at its finest: fillet steaks from JB Penman


Cooking was simple.  Season the steaks well and get them on a very hot griddle.  Roast asparagus. Cook some mushrooms in butter, add garlic, tarragon, wine and wholegrain mustard.  Turn steaks.  Rest steaks.  Add cream to mushrooms.  Plate up.  Eat.

Perfect – especially with that one last glass of Rioja……..

fillet steaks from JB Penman, butchers
Fine food, fast!

Thanks to Keith, Caroline and the team at Penmans.

J B Penman Butcher

38 High Street South, Crail, Fife, KY10 3RB 

Opening times Mon/Tue & Thu–Sat 6.30am–1pm, 2–5pm; Wed 6.30am–1pm. Closed Sun.


This article has been submitted to Crail Food Festival by Derek Swan.  You can read more by visiting  or send me a Tweet @hungry_swan.