Prime Bone-In Beef Tenderloin – Marrow Crust, Truffled Cardoons, Pena Blanca Cheese Sauce
This is a special we ran tonight which may get menu consideration. Cardoons – a winter stalk that looks similar to celery and has a flavor which can be compared to a cross between celery and artichoke – are a favorite of mine and are not very well known here in the states. I love the earthiness they possess and they act as a great medium to carry the richness of the filet, the creaminess of the sauce and the perfume of the truffle.
The rewards of the cardoon cannot be realized easily however as they are time consuming to prepare. To do so, prepare a water bath with lemon juice to prevent oxidizing and remove the outer stalks from the head to expose the heart. Carefully peel the fibrous membrane, slice on a bias and place in the water. Heat a non-reactive sauce pan – large enough to comfortably fit all of the cardoons in one even layer – over high heat. Add olive oil and split whole garlic heads. Drain the cardoons from the water and add. To prevent discoloration, the heat should return to the pan quickly. Season with salt, dust with a small amount of flour, and add a splash of white wine. Reduce by 2/3 and top with chicken stock. Bring to a boil, lower heat to simmer and cook until the cardoons are tender, yet still have a bite. For more on the cardoon visit this site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardoon
The filet is seasoned and seared, and then slow roasted in the oven with a generous amount of butter for basting purposes. After resting it is topped with a bone marrow crust, made by grinding bone marrow that has been soaked in ice water for 3 days (changing the water daily to remove excess blood). This is combined with softened butter, Dijon mustard, parsley and bread crumbs and then rolled into logs. To order it is sliced and then spread over the tenderloin and gratinéed.
Pena Blanca is a washed rind sheep’s milk cheese from Cantabria in northern Spain. It is a very aromatic cheese and, due to its intensity, somewhat of an endangered species in the cheese world and rarely seen outside of the region. Pena Blanca has a firm, moist texture and slight tartness followed by a persistent finish. A wide variety of assertive flavored cheeses would work well with this preparation, but the pena blanca is one we have on hand. The sauce is a basic béchamel to which the cheese is emulsified in at the end.
The dish is finished with truffle oil as it exits the kitchen. For added luxury, shave some fresh black or white truffles underneath the marrow crust before browning to encase an incredible aroma.