Fillet de Beouf aux Morilles
(after Escoffier)

Serving Size: 8
Preparation Time: 1:00

For the Plate
  1. Trim an eight pound fillet of beef of all fat, chain and silverflesh and suppress the tail portion for another use. You should have 4 lb. clean. Tie it gently, to keep a uniform shape, but not tight.
  2. Prepare a marinade of olive oil, red wine vinegar, a decent domestic cabernet sauvignon with good body, chopped shallots, cracked black pepper and a splash of a good brandy. (NO salt). Rest 24 hours in refrigerator in marinade, turning at least once.
  3. Sear outside on a very hot broiler to make grill marks. Set oven at 400 degrees F, preheat 15 min. Lightly oil a black roasting pan and place in oven. Let it get good and hot. When oil begins to smoke, put fillet in pan, top down. 15 minutes later turn it over quickly. Don't stick it with a fork. Give it another 15 min. and remove from the oven. Let rest (reposer) 15 min.
  4. Deglaze the roast pan with 1 cup cabernet sauvignon.
  5. Meanwhile, soften 6 oz shallots in 4 oz sweet butter. Flame with 1 cup Jack Daniels. Add 1 cup of the marinade and the pan deglazing and reduce almost dry. Add 10 oz Glace d'viand and simmer to marry the flavor. Add a little salt as required, but be gentle. The sauce should be of paintable thickness. Now place the fillet on a tray on the oven door (oven still on). Paint it with the sauce several times to create a glaze of sauce on the meat, which should remain rare.
  6. sauté very quickly and very hot, 1 lb. Of morels in clarified butter. Remember, you are sautéing little bags of water, so very hot and very quickly. Do not add them till the yellow color of the clarified butter disappears. Pour off any excess clarified butter as soon as you have good color on the morels. Flame with 8 oz of Jack Daniels. Add 4 oz of sweet butter in lumps, and swirl into the Glace. Add a teaspoon, no more, of fresh tarragon leaves, just enough to give a herbaceous aroma to the sauce. You may want to do this in small batches, as the mushrooms should only be one deep in the pan so that every mushroom is in contact with the hot pan. You can use fresh Shiitake mushrooms (no stems) instead, if morels are out of season.
  7. To serve, place a little sauce in the plate and rotate to fill the well. Place a slice of well browned buttery puff paste in the center of the plate. Slice the beef and lay out 3 slices of beef on the tranche (slice) of puff paste in the form of a crown.(The puff paste is to absorb the blood and the sauce, so one can neatly clean the plate and not miss anything.) Put a generous spoonful of the morels on either side. Add tiny pan roasted Parisienne cut potatoes, asparagus tips, very green and crisp, and blanched and pan roasted baby carrots en bouquet (in bunches), in an artistic frame around the meat. Put a thin ribbon of sauce and 1 or two choice morels on top of the meat (but don't hide the meat). Add fleurons to frame the plate at 3 and 9 o'clock. Serve your best cabernet sauvignon with this.

Serves a party of eight. This can be flamed and carved at table side. If so, you will need more Jack Daniels. This is what I believe Roy Andres de Groot would call "La cuisine ancien -nouvelle," the old new cooking style. or: make scrambled eggs with morels.

*Glace de viand is concentrated meat essence, made by reducing a stock to 1/10th of its original volume. When added to pan deglazing liquids it makes a richly flavored glaze or sauce for the dish.

Suggested Wine: Your best Cabernet Sauvignon
Serving Ideas: Flame and Carve at Table side

Notes: Originally written as a response to "What can I do with morels?" The last line is a takeoff on a joke recipe called Oysters a la Bezique, in which a terribly elaborate and formal recipe (a thrush within a lark..) was set down, and the last line was, "or eat oysters with cracked pepper and a sprinkle of wine vinegar." The point being, of course, that when you have something with a fine natural flavor, a simple preparation is as good, or better than an elaborate one. I can tell you that I served this as my signature dish at many dinners for chefs and they cleaned the plates. An oxtail consomme is the perfect soup to serve with it.

Steve's #21 Recipes

The Five Grande Sauces

Sauce Espagnole
Sauce Diable for Grilled Pork
Beef Sweetbreads in Mushroom Sauce
Chicken Stew Chasseur*
Braised Brisket of Beef
Fillet de Beouf aux Morilles
Autumn Roast Duck
Brown Stock—Estouffade*
Court Bouillon*

*Repeated from a previous article


©1996, Steve K. Holzinger. All rights reserved.

This Archived Page created between 1994 and 2001. Modified August 2007