Reinventing a Recipe. An Update to Surf and Turf.

A couple years ago I came across a recipe in Cuisine at Home for Stuffed Filet Mignon Oscar with Crabmeat Filling. I made this recipe as my alternative Thanksgiving. I had been looking for something that would be “special” enough to take the place of the classic dinner. The meal was fantastic but was too much, both in volume and in price. A filet mignon can be an amazing piece of meat but with it’s price you should have it be the star and not covered in layers of other equally delicious flavors.


Now, before I go into my reinvention I want to disclose that it’s not perfect. There’s still a lot of work to be done on the reinvention but it’s where I am at and it’s what I cooked last night. My blog is about my cooking journey. Sometimes the posts will be fully fleshed out ideas that have come to fruition and other times it will be like this… the journey.

So, I also need to disclose I am not, nor is my husband, a fan of Valentines day. I mean it’s fine but trying to make one day seem more about your love for each other seems weird. There’s not a day that goes by without us expressing our love for each other. That being said I was thinking this might be a good time to dust off this recipe and have another go at it. This got me thinking about the recipe.

First off the steak. As I said this seems like the wrong recipe to use a filet mignon. Having been thinking more about and making more roulades it dawned on me this might be a more interesting way to present this dish. Originally the recipe has you sear the filet on both sides then cut an “X” in the top and stuff it with this crab mixture. It also had you tie some kitchen twine around the steak to help it hold it’s shape. Then you finish off the cooking in the oven. Finally once it’s plated you pour Béarnaise over it. Like I stated indulgent and just over the top.

In beef roulades, recipes often call for flank steak or skirt steak. Either would have been fine but while at the butcher the girl behind the counter told me I should try bavette. Having never worked with it I was curious and she told me that I would not regret it and boy was she right. This was not hard to prepare and offered a wonderful rich meaty flavor. My idea was to make the crab filling, spread it over the steak, roll it up, sear the outside and finish it in the oven. All in all this worked AMAZINGLY! I probably should have season the steak before layering on the crab filling. I was also thinking I might need to see if I can come up with a good marinade that wouldn’t over power the crab filling once cooked.

Next up was the béarnaise sauce. So, you may remember from my post about duck eggs that I switched to using only them and yes, I think they are amazing. One thing to note is they make everything thicker and richer. Back to the sauce, it’s essentially a basic emulsification of egg yolk and melted butter. This is supposed to be a warmed sauce which is why you use melted butter. To make it into béarnaise it’s a matter of adding tarragon, shallots, and some vinegar. Think of it as a super yummy mayonnaise.

I hadn’t done a lot of planning for this sauce and the recipe I had was going to make WAY too much. It also wanted this whole process of clarifying the butter and so on. I knew I had seen easier ways to do this so I started googling around. I would a recipe on about how to do this in the blender! Love it! Well, I put my egg yolk in the blender with the lemon juice, and salt getting them blended together. Then I slowly poured in my melted butter. I had a SUPER thick emulsification! I added my white wine, the vinegar, and the tarragon and gave it another good blitz. I might have over done it because the tarragon started to make it more of a green sauce. I stopped the blender only to discover that this was thick! I mean something like sour cream! It took some work but I got the sauce out of the blender. Trying to decide what to do I set the bowl on the stove while the steak was cooking in the oven. The warmth of the oven softened my sauce enough to make it more of a silly smooth compound butter. In the end the taste was great it was just more of a thick blob than a silky smooth sauce.

For the veggies the asparagus was simple enough just tosses in a little olive oil and salt and then sautéed in a fry pan until bright green and slightly wilted. For the potatoes though I wanted to give them a little help. Not sure what to do I turned to The Spice Companion. I wasn’t sure if there would be any guidance here as I have not worked much with the book but I gave it a shot. I looked in the index for potatoes and found all sorts of stuff and one for roasted potatoes which is exactly what I was doing! I flip to the page number only to discover it’s the page for ginger! Ginger on potatoes…. hmmm, I don’t know about this… I go through the page to find the reference to roasted potatoes and I find it in his section on recommendations. The recipe is simple enough. Two parts ginger to one part sweet paprika. Odd. I hesitated. Do I want to do this? I just don’t know what to make of it but knowing Lior’s reputation for spice blends I moved forward.

  • 6 ounces Small Waxy Potatoes, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • A Pinch of Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon Sweet Paprika

I tossed it all together until all the pieces were well coated. Placed them on a baking sheet, cut side up, in a oven preheated to 400ºF. I roasted them for 30 minutes or until they begin to brown and slightly blister. Hands down the best potatoes I have ever eaten! I want to make another batch right now just thinking about it!

I mentioned this dinner was intended to be for Valentines Day. Well on Tuesday I had forgotten to thaw the beef. Then on Wednesday I forgot to chill the wine. So I finally made it Thursday. It wasn’t a perfect meal but it was delicious and a huge step in the right direction in reinventing this dish.


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