Grilled Fillet of Beef with Red Wine Sauce

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The ultimate prized piece of beef is the fillet mignon, the center of the beef tenderloin. Because this cut of beef has no fat on the surface, it should be brushed with oil before cooking. The cooking times for beef will vary according to the temperature of the fire as well as the temperature of the meat and the air. A beef fillet, or beef tenderloin, is the most tender of all beef cuts. It contains no bone or fat. Although the fillet is fork-tender, it lacks a real beefy flavor so it is often seasoned before roasting and served with a sauce

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Grilled Fillet of Beef with Red Wine Sauce

chefgeorgehirsch.com | adapted from Know Your Fire Cookbook

2 pound beef tenderloin roast, trimmed

2 teaspoons hot sauce

1/4 cup prepared mustard

2 Tablespoons coarsely crushed peppercorns

1 teaspoon Italian parsley, coarsely chopped

2 Tablespoons olive oil

For the Shitake Mushrooms & Red Wine Sauce

2 Tablespoons sweet butter

1 cup sliced shitake mushrooms

2 shallots, finely chopped or 2 Tablespoons chopped onions

1/4 cup dry red wine 

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 Tablespoon sherry, optional

Preheat the grill or grill pan to high.

Rub the meat with the hot sauce and spread evenly with the mustard on all sides. Mix the peppercorns and parsley together and pat onto the meat. Brush beef with olive oil. 

Sear the meat on the grill until it is brown on all sides. Lower the heat to medium and finish cooking to desired doneness. For rare, the approximate time is 7-8 minutes per pound, 8-10 minutes for medium rare, 10-12 minutes for medium. Cool the meat slightly for five minutes and slice thin. 

Meanwhile, in a saute pan melt the butter over medium heat and add the shitake mushrooms and shallots. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms begin to get a little color. Add the wine and thyme and cook 1 minute. If inclined, add the sherry.

To serve, garnish the steaks with the mushrooms and red wine sauce.

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Jamón Serrano

Jamón Serrano is Spain's dry cured country ham, much like the more popular Prosciutto of Italy, but slightly little less fatty. Jamón Serrano can come from any region in Spain, unlike Prosciutto di Parma, a certified product specifically marked from the Parma region in Italy. Jamón Serrano is aka mountain ham, a nickname given because originally the mountain regions were where the hams were cured, possessing ideal climate conditions for curing the hams for at least a year. This Serrano ham is a common ham, embraced and ingrained in the customs and traditions in all Spain's regions. And also, enjoyed on a daily basis at most Spanish meals.

Available at specialty markets.

Serve: carved paper thin with hard cheese and fresh fruit.

Cicchetti

In honor of Carnevale di Venezia 2011: 

A big part of every evening in Venice begins with an elaborate array of appetizer size portions served on small plates, like tapas or as the Venetians call it cicchetti (chi-KEH-tee). 

This style of entertaining is such a pleasant way to enjoy an evening with family and friends. In place of the typical ‘big roast’ dinner party, it’s easy to put together a last minute ‘cicchetti’ menu which can be prepared ahead of serving. Many of the food items are probably available right in your own pantry or refrigerator. Serve buffet style.

Grand Canal, Venice Italy

Venetian Cicchetti Menu

- Deep-fried mozzarella cheese, Gorgonzola, calamari, artichoke hearts and anything that can    be put on a toothpick. 

- Crostini (little toasts) is also popular, as are marinated seafood, olives and prosciutto with melon. 

- Meat and fish bites are ideal and with grapes, figs and fennel for a perfect mix. 

- Bite size meatballs, hard boiled eggs with anchovies, fried vegetables 

More traditional items can include; moscardini (tiny octopus) with polenta, soppressa and toasted bread with creamed cod, and sardines cooked and marinated with onions and vinegar, flavored with raisins and pine nuts. 

Drink

Wine is the drink of choice. Serve your ‘house’ red or white wine (ombra rosso or ombra bianco) or a small beer (birrino). Pour traditional Venetian favorites such as a Spritz, a refreshing Venice cocktail of prosecco, (Italian sparkling wine) soda and Campari or Aperol bitters.

Dessert

Wrap up the evening by serving sgroppino (lemon sorbet, prosecco with a splash of vodka) or a small glass of Grappa. Top with a typical Venetian sweet such as zaeti, a biscuit prepared with polenta flour and raisins or bussolai buranelli, butter biscuits made in a round shape that are wonderful when dunked in sweet Vin Santo.   

Sgroppino Recipe.