Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Tenderloin Filet Mignon and Fingerling Potatoes with Bearnaise Sauce

Another amazing dinner from my husband Joe, who has gone during the course of our relationship from a vegetarian to a steak connoisseur. This was amazing, largely because the quality of the meat and the potatoes, both from Trader Joe's, was excellent. I can't get over how flavorful fingerling potatoes are, especially when fried shallots are involved. Here's Joe's recipe:

Tenderloin Filet Mignon and Fingerling Potatoes with Bearnaise Sauce

Two 2 inch thick Filets
Salt and Pepper
1/2 Shallot
Half pound Fingerling Potatoes

Bearnaise Sauce:

2 Egg Yolks
Juice of one lemon
One stick of butter
1/2 Shallot
One shot of bourbon

Allow filets to come to room temperature as you prepare the ingredients.

Slice the fingerlings on the bias in about half inch thick slices while you boil a pot of water. Boil them until a fork slides in easily but with some resistance. Drain. Set aside. Chop a half shallot finely for the sauce and slice the the other half in thin half moons for the potatoes.

Generously salt the steaks. Heat a cast iron pan on high until it is very hot. At the same time heat another pan on med high and put a generous amount of veg oil (canola) in the pan to get nice and hot for the potatoes. Lightly coat the filets with a bit of oil. I just poured oil on my hands and gave them a little massage. To achieve a nice crust you want to use as little oil as possible.

Put the potatoes in the pan with the oil. Brown on each side and add the shallots toward the end. You want them to cook and crisp a bit but not burn. Place in a 200-degree oven to keep warm until time to serve.

At the same time put the steaks in the cast iron pan, which by now should be smoking slightly. Cook four minutes per side and remove to let the juices settle. The goal is a dark crispy crust on the outside and medium rare on the inside. It worked perfectly last night.

While the steaks settle make the Bearnaise sauce. Bring a small amount of water to a light boil in the pot you boiled the potatoes in. Put a stainless steel bowl over the pan as a double boiler. Put the two yolks in with a pinch of salt and whisk constantly over the heat. Remove from the heat from time to time. You don't want the eggs to cook and solidify. Whisk until they start to turn a light yellow. Add the lemon juice and whisk until the sauce is about doubled in size. Add the butter cut into 7 or 8 pieces. You want to keep the butter cold until it's time to add it to the sauce. Add little by little. The sauce should get very thick. Add the shallots and whisk some more (30 seconds or so). Add the bourbon (classically it should be white wine but I like this little variation). Turn off the heat.

Serve with Bearnaise sauce poured over the steak or in a side bowl for dipping. Garnish with chopped chives for presentation. We had none last night so we just poured the sauce on the steaks and a little dab on the side to dip the potatoes in.

We had this with a nice Argentinian Malbec from the Chairman's Selection (a great program by the PA state stores that makes high-quality wines affordable and accessible). A great meal overall if I do say so myself.