This winning combination is known in the classic French repertoire as tournedos Rossini. The story is that the composer Rossini, a devoted fan of truffles, asked a chef to prepare this dish. The chef balked, suggesting that it was ill-conceived. The maestro said that if the chef was offended, the maestro himself could prepare the dish quickly while the chef’s back was turned. The word tournedos thus supposedly comes from the French phrase tourner le dos, to turn one’s back. Prepare this when pouring a prodigious red wine, and you surely won’t be vexed.–Katherine Alford
LC Stubborn Is As Stubborn Does Note
We’re rather tickled by this tale of Rossini and his stubbornness. Because as far as we’re concerned, when it comes to knowing good food, stubborn is as stubborn does. And that’s a good thing.
Tournedos Rossini Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 35 M
- 1 H
- Serves 4
- For the sauce
- 2/3 cup Madeira
- 2 tablespoons minced shallot
- 1 thyme sprig
- 1/2 bay leaf
- 2 cups veal or beef stock
- 1 1/2 teaspoons arrowroot, mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons water (optional)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 1/2 to 1 ounce fresh or preserved black winter truffle
- For the medallions
- Four 4-ounce filet of beef (tenderloin) medallions, about 1 1/2 inches thick, at room temperature
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Four 1-ounce grade-A or -B duck foie gras medallions
- Make the sauce
- 1. In a saucepan, bring the Madeira, shallot, thyme, and bay leaf to a gentle simmer and cook until the wine is reduced to a light syrup coating the shallots. The wine may flame briefly but will go out just as quickly.
- 2. Carefully pour the stock into the wine reduction and gently simmer until reduced by half. Skim any impurities that rise to the surface. (If the sauce isn’t thick enough to nap the meat, whisk the arrowroot mixture into the sauce and bring to a full boil to thicken.) Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the butter. Season with the 3/4 teaspoon salt, the pepper, and vinegar. Slice the truffle paper-thin with a truffle slicer, mandoline, or very sharp knife and add to the sauce. Set aside and keep warm, preferably in a double boiler over hot water, for up to 1 hour. (You may need to adjust the consistency with a bit of water if the sauce thickens.)
- Make the medallions
- 3. Meanwhile, pat the beef medallions dry with paper towels and season one side of the meat with salt and pepper. Heat a heavy skillet over low heat. Add the oil to the pan, increase the heat to medium-high, and place the meat, seasoned-side down, in the pan. Sauté until the steaks are a rich, burnished brown on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Season the remaining side with salt and pepper to taste, turn, reduce the heat slightly, and brown the other side, 3 to 4 minutes. Brown the sides of the medallions by standing them on their sides. Transfer the meat to a plate.
- 4. Wipe out the skillet and return it to medium-high heat. Season the foie gras medallions with salt and pepper to taste. Add the foie gras medallions to the skillet and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until a deep brown on the bottom. Drain off any excess fat. Turn the foie gras with a metal spatula and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until the foie gras softens but still has some resilience. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
- Assemble the plate
- 5. To serve, remove any strings from the beef medallions. Place the beef on warmed plates or a platter. Top with the foie gras and nap with the sauce, making sure that a couple slices of truffles rest on each serving of foie gras. Serve immediately.
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Tournedos Rossini Recipe © 2001 Katherine Alford. Photo © 2001 Ellen Silverman. All rights reserved.
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