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Filet Oscar

Filet Oscar

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Serves 2.
By Dennis W. Viau; modified from a recipe found in a restaurant trade journal.

Not only does this dish benefit from a delicious cut of beef tenderloin cooked to perfection, it is topped with king crab meat and a classic béarnaise sauce. Asparagus accompanies this dish as a side, but I have seen the asparagus arranged on top of the fillets (filet is the French spelling of fillet) with the crab meat.

Ingredients:

For the Béarnaise:
¼ cup (60ml) tarragon vinegar
¼ cup (60ml) dry white wine or vermouth
1 tablespoon minced shallots
3 to 4 peppercorns, cracked (or very coarsely ground)
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons cold butter
3 egg yolks
½ to 2/3 cup melted butter
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
For the Fillets:
2 boneless beef tenderloin fillets
4 generous pieces of Alaskan king crab meat (about 4 ounces/113g total weight)
2 to 3 tablespoons of butter
About 12 asparagus spears

Directions:

Start the béarnaise sauce by pouring the vinegar and vermouth into a small saucepan with the minced shallots and cracked pepper. Add a pinch of salt and heat to boiling over a medium flame. Simmer until about ¾ of the liquid has evaporated. Strain the liquid, discarding the solids, and return the liquid to the saucepan. Stir the cold butter into the liquid until the butter has melted. If the butter does not entirely melt, warm slightly over a low flame and continue stirring.

Whip the egg yolks with a whisk until they thicken a little, less than a minute, and then drizzle into the strained liquid while whisking. Combine thoroughly.

In a larger saucepan, heat about a cup (237ml) of water until it comes to a boil. Hold the smaller saucepan over the boiling water and stir the yolk mixture constantly with a wooden spoon or spatula as it heats and begins to thicken. Thicken the yolk mixture until it coats the spoon or spatula and then remove from the heat. Do not overcook, as this might scramble the yolks and ruin the mixture.

Immediately begin whisking the melted butter, a tablespoon at a time, into the yolk mixture, whisking until each addition of butter is completely incorporated before adding more butter. Finish by adding the chopped tarragon leaves and mix well. Set this béarnaise sauce aside.

Season the steaks with salt and pepper and grill to your desired level of doneness. I prefer to cook to an internal temperature of 130 to 135°F (54 to 57°C), checked with an instant-read digital thermometer, for medium-rare. While the meat is grilling, melt the remaining butter in a small saucepan and warm the crab meat.

Break each asparagus spear to remove the bottom woody section and cook on the grill toward the end of the meat's cooking time, 5 to 6 minutes.

To serve, place a grilled fillet on a plate and top with crab meat. Arrange asparagus on the side. Spoon the béarnaise sauce over the filets and the asparagus. Serve immediately.