Sunday, March 2, 2014

Beef Tenderloin Oscar with Béarnaise Sauce

This seemingly simple recipe has varying heats and many components that can become confusing. Youll make things far, far easier on yourself if you prepare the Béarnaise Sauce before you start the meat. 

Keep the sauce warm over simmering water at the back of the stove until you need it. Youll also find the recipe less difficult if you read the directions and ingredients right through, assembling everything in advance and laying it out within easy reach.

The recipe’s worth the work and the cost. Its absolutely delicious!
Beef Tenderloin Oscar with Béarnaise Sauce
We like our meat medium-rare: Cooking it 1-½ min. per side produced perfect results. Should you choose to serve this excellent dish to guests, prepare it for yourself before you commit to serving it to others. Doing a run-through will clarify the organizational steps you need to take (such as slicing the meat in advance) to prepare a larger quantity. 

This dish is costly - but still it’s still cheaper than having a fine meal in a restaurant. You may find the expense well worth it for a special occasion such as the Oscars. The quantities below are perfect for an intimate dinner for two. I hope you’ll enjoy this beautiful dinner as much as Ron and I do. 

Beef Tenderloin Oscar:

4 thin asparagus spears, tough ends snapped off  
2 previously steamed king crab legs, 1-½-to-2 oz. each (45-to-55 g each), including weight of shell
½  cup flour 
1 tsp. salt 
½ tsp. coarsely ground pepper  
Two 10 oz. (280 g) 1-½-in. thick beef tenderloins  
2 tsp. canola oil, divided
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
½ green onion, minced fine
½ tsp. dried tarragon
2 tsp. olive oil

Cook asparagus 2 min. in simmering water. Drain and set aside. Using crab crackers and a sharp knife, shell and extract meat from crab legs. Set aside in refrigerator.

Combine flour, salt, and pepper in shallow dish. Slice each beef tenderloin horizontally. You will now have four pieces of meat, each ¾-in. thick. Dredge sliced beef in flour mixture until completely coated. 

To a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 tsp. oil and 1 tbsp. butter. For medium-rare doneness, sauté all four sliced tenderloins together about 1-½ min. per side until golden brown. Transfer tenderloins to warm platter. In the same unwashed skillet over medium-low heat, heat remaining oil and butter. Stir in green onions and tarragon, tossing until hot. Add olive oil, asparagus, and crab to skillet, heating through. To serve, place asparagus and crab over tenderloin. Drizzle with hot Béarnaise Sauce, serving at once. 

Ron cracks crab shell, using sharp knife along sides if needed.

Ron gently separates meat from shell.

Slice tenderloins in horizontally, as Ron does. Each is now two.

He dredges meat in seasoned flour.

Sauté beef in butter and a little oil.

Heat asparagus and crab in butter remaining in skillet.

Béarnaise Sauce:

¼ c. clarified unsalted butter (no substitutes) … see How to Clarify Butter (below)
¼ c. dry white wine
3 scant tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 whole leafy sprig fresh parsley (do not use Italian parsley or cilantro)
1 green onion, minced fine
¼ tsp. dried tarragon
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. fresh parsley, chopped fine (do not use Italian parsley or cilantro)
Dash cayenne
Salt and pepper, to taste 

Clarify butter; set aside. Over medium-low heat, simmer wine, vinegar, parsley sprig, green onions, and tarragon until mixture is reduced by half. Strain, discarding solids and setting liquid aside. Over simmering water in top of double boiler, whisk yolks until thick. Whisk in strained wine mixture a few drops at a time. Continuing to whisk, cook until mixture resembles thick, heavy cream. Remove from heat, whisking in clarified butter 1 tbsp. at a time. Add parsley and seasonings. Keep warm over hot water until needed, whisking occasionally. If mixture needs thinning, add hot water 1 tbsp. at a time until mixture reaches desired consistency. Yields ½ c.

How to Clarify Butter:

Cut butter into cubes. In a small skillet, melt butter slowly over low heat until foamy solids rise to top. Remove from heat, skimming off foam with a spoon. In a small heatproof bowl or measuring cup, pour hot butter through 2 layers of cheesecloth lining a small sieve. Discard cheesecloth. Your butter is now “clarified.” Set aside, keeping warm until required.

Heat unsalted butter. Milk solids will rise to top.

Line small sieve with two layers of cheesecloth.

Pour butter through cheesecloth, separating out solids.  

Ensure water under double boiler simmers!
This is what happens when it boils.

I substituted a stainless bowl for the egg-messed top pan 
of the double boiler. The Béarnaise Sauce was perfect! 

Tomorrow: Tangy Seafood Chowder.

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