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Châteaubriand for Two w/Sauce Béarnaise

Châteaubriand is a dish named for 19th-century French statesman and author François Châteaubriand. It consists of a piece of beef cut from the center of the tenderloin that's large enough for two people, making it an elegant yet easy entree for a romantic dinner at home. Topped with Sauce Béarnaise and accompanied by simple side dishes (recipes included), it is the perfect menu for an intimate dinner for two.

Châteaubriand for Two w/Sauce Béarnaise

Châteaubriand for Two w/Sauce Béarnaise

  • Ingredients:
  • 14 to 15 ounces beef tenderloin (see notes)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Sauce Bearnaise (see recipe below)

Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 400°F and season the beef liberally on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a heavy, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and sear until lightly browned on all sides, turning with tongs as needed, about 3 minutes total.

Place the skillet in the oven and roast for 10 to 12 minutes, until an instant read thermometer registers 125° for medium rare. Tent with foil and allow to rest for 20 minutes before carving.

Recipe Notes:
Tell your butcher that you are making Châteaubriand and have him cut a 14 to 15-ounce section of the tenderloin from the very center and be sure he trims any fat and silver skin as well. You should have a beautiful looking, lean cut of beef measuring 2-1/2 to 3-inches in diameter and 5 to 6 inches long when he's done.

Serve with Sauce Béarnaise.

Makes 2 servings

Sauce Béarnaise
  • Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup champagne or white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon shallots, very finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) butter, melted
  • 3 large egg yolks

Preparation:
Combine the vinegar, wine, shallots, tarragon leaves, peppercorns and salt in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a rapid simmer and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until reduced by about 75%. Set aside to cool for a few minutes, then strain into a small bowl, pressing the shallot mixture with the back of a spoon to squeeze out all of the liquid. You should have about 2 tablespoons. If you're short, just add a little water to make up the difference.

Rinse and dry the saucepan and add the butter. Melt completely over medium heat and set aside for 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully skim off most of the foam that forms with a spoon and set aside. Removing the foam helps the sauce to emulsify.

Place 1/2 to 3-4-inch of water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Find a heatproof bowl that will fit over the simmering water without actually touching it during cooking. A distance of about 1-1/2 inches between the water and the bottom of the bowl is ideal. We generally use a stainless mixing bowl over a 2-quart saucier.

Place the egg yolks and strained vinegar mixture into the heatproof bowl and whisk together until blended. Set the bowl over the simmering water and whisk vigorously as the eggs thicken and increase in volume, scraping the sides frequently to keep the mixture cooking evenly. You must whisk continually until the eggs have thickened to the point where you can see thin ribbons form when you lift the whisk. This should take about 5 minutes.

To finish the sauce, whisk in the melted butter in a very slow drizzle. The sauce will thicken and develop a glossy sheen. Pour into a sauce boat and serve immediately.

Makes about 1 cup

Note: Béarnaise can be made up to 1 hour in advance and kept warm in a very clean thermos, but for safety sake, don't keep it any longer.


Roasted Tarragon Potatoes
  • Ingredients:
  • 8 to 10 small gold or red potatoes (see note)
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 400° and line a shallow baking pan with parchment paper or foil.

Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and place in a large mixing bowl. Scrub the potatoes thoroughly and add to the bowl with the butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss to coat completely, then turn onto the prepared baking pan in a single layer. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and stir in the chopped tarragon. Place in a mixing bowl and add the potatoes. Toss to coat and serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings


Buttered Grape Tomatoes
  • Ingredients:
  • 1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped

Preparation:
Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. As soon as it begins to foam, add the tomatoes.

Cook, tossing continually with a spatula, until the tomatoes are softened but still holding their shape, 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, add the parsley and cook 1/2 minute longer.

Transfer to a serving dish using a slotted spoon.

Makes 2 servings


Asparagus with Lemon-Butter
  • Ingredients:
  • 3/4 lb asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:
Bring 1/2-inch of water to a boil in the bottom of a pan outfitted with a steaming rack. Place the asparagus on the rack, cover and cook until bright green and tender when pierced with a sharp knife in the thickest part of the stalk, about 7 minutes.

While the asparagus cooks, melt the butter in a small saucepan or microwave safe bowl. Stir in the lemon juice and lemon zest.

Plate the asparagus, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with the butter mixture.

Makes 2 servings

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