August 11, 2011
August is American Indian Heritage Month, but it's also Cataract Awareness Month, National Win With Civility Month, Get Ready for Kindergarten Month, National Spinal Muscular Atrophy Awareness Month, Golf Month and Pedestrian Safety Month, among other observances.
In the food field alone, it's also Celery, Fennel and Cactus Month, Orange and Papaya Month and Mushroom and Onion Month. (My research has yet to yield what's with the pairings. I feel onions and mushrooms both merit their own month, but maybe there's a scheduling conflict with cauliflower and corn.)
Oh, it's National Panini Month too. And it turns out Aug. 7-13 is National Farmers Market Week, which almost snuck right past me.
There's more where that came from. Yesterday, Aug. 10, was S'mores Day. Monday, Aug. 8 was Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch Night. And this Saturday, Aug. 13, is a day to celebrate fine steak.
If you knew Saturday, Aug. 13, is National Filet Mignon Day then you’ve probably familiar with the steaks at a little place called the Sardine Factory, where they’re celebrating the date with a “Factory cut” 14-ounce USDA bone-in filet mignon with wild mushroom gratin, sautéed Salinas Valley spinach, garlic mashed potatoes and a béarnaise sauce (in the neighborhood of $44).
"The best way to cook a steak is to sear it on both sides using a black cast iron skillet before putting it on a broiler or in an oven broiler,” founder-chef Bert Cutino says. “This seals all the juices in the meat.”
In further celebration of the day, Cutino shared his recipe for Tournedos Regina with the Weekly. With apologies to the people behind Happiness Happens Month, that's something to celebrate:
Tournedos Regina (serves 6)
Ingredients: 6 Eggplant slices, peeled (1/4 inch thick) ½ cup all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon basil ¼ cup chopped shallots 3 tablespoons butter ¾ cup beef broth 1½ cup sliced mushrooms 2 tablespoons chopped chives 3 tablespoons Madeira 6 mushroom caps 24 white or green asparagus 6 4-ounce beef tenderloin fillets Salt and pepper All-purpose flour to lightly cover pieces of tenderloin Paprika
Directions: Dip eggplant slices lightly in the ½ cup of flour that has been seasoned with 1 teaspoon basil. In a 10-inch skillet, cook eggplant in 6 tablespoons of butter until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes. Remove and keep warm.
In same skillet, cook shallots in 3 tablespoons of butter for 1-2 minutes. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until tender. Stir in beef broth, Madeira and chives. Add mushroom caps. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or more.
Heat asparagus spears in 1 cup of water with 1 tablespoon of butter. At the same time salt and pepper pieces of tenderloin; dip in flour. Pan fry in hot fat to desired temperate, about 2-2 ½ minutes per side for rare.
For each serving, on a plate, layer eggplant slices and beef. Remove mushroom caps from sauce; spoon about 1 tablespoon of mushroom/chive sauce over Tournedos. Top each with a mushroom cap. Pyramid asparagus on side and sprinkle lightly with paprika.