Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"Filet Mignon". Blueberry Reduction. Polenta. Spinach.

 I stopped in at the grand opening of Prime Butcher Baker yesterday, the brand new kosher butcher and bakery on 2nd Ave. and 83rd St. brought to you by the owners of Prime Grill, Solo & Prime KO.  The place is really nice, clean, well lit and has a wide selection of interesting cuts that you don't usually find at most butchers.  With all the interesting variety of meats offered at Prime, it looks like the focus of the store is going to be their dry aged beef, so of course thats what I went with for this little Valentine's day dinner for me and my wife.

I noticed a "filet mignon" in the butcher case, which I found odd considering the filet is an inherently unkosher cut as it comes from the tenderloin - located in the hindquarter of the cow.  All cuts from this region are deemed unkosher by Jewish dietary law.  The butcher attempted to create a kosher version of the filet by cutting out the "eye" from the ribeye in order to mimic the shape and texture of the tenderloin and then dry aging it.  It's a bit expensive, but it was really flavorful and tender.

I pretty much knew immediately that I was going to sear off the beef and finish it in the oven, but I had no idea what I was going to pair it with until I got home and started digging around the fridge.  We had some blueberries, so I figured I might as well make a sauce out of it.  It was a total experiment, but the sweetness and acidity really complemented the beef nicely and I think it looked really dramatic on the plate.  The spinach and polenta were a complete afterthought, but they really rounded out the dish.

 For the sauce:
  • In a small sauce pan: Saute 1/4 of a red onion - small dice
  • Add about 1/4 cup or so of rice vinegar.  You can use white wine vinegar, apple cider, or even balsamic and let it reduce.
  • Toss in about a 1/2 pint or so of blueberries and cover with chicken stock and a little water and boil till the berries burst and give up their juice.  At this point, I tossed in about a tablespoon of sugar and a half teaspoon of herbs de provence (totally optional).
  • Once the blueberries pop and become mushy, buzz it all up with an immersion blender and reduce.
  • Pass the sauce through a fine mesh strainer, return to the pan and reduce to desired consistency.
  • Season liberally with salt and pepper, sear on all sides in DUUUCK FAAAAT or you can use vegetable oil.
  • Stick it in a 350 degree oven till you get an internal temperature of about 140 degrees for medium rare.  I cooked mine about a minute too long, I would have preferred it a little pinker, but it was still very juicy and tender.  I threw a whole garlic clove in there to roast in the duck fat for a little extra flavor.  Can't hurt to toss a little of that roasted garlic into the polenta for a little flavor bump.
  • When the beef was done, I removed it from the pan to rest, poured off a little excess fat and tossed in a bunch of spinach to wilt.  The jus that you see underneath the spinach is just the juice from the beef that was in the pan when I sautéed the spinach.
I put a little spinach on the plate, topped it with 2 slices of the beef, put a little swipe of the blueberry reduction, added a couple dollops of the polenta and finished off the whole dish with a little micro cilantro for some freshness and French Gris sea salt for that little pop and crunch.

For the polenta, just follow the directions on the package.

Sear your beef in Duuuuck Faaaaaat

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