Need a way to your King’s heart? It is often said that a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach . . . or rather, making damn good food that nourishes his soul and makes him feel loved! As the weekend fast approaches, and the longest day of summer will arrive tomorrow morning (summer solstice), the time is perfect for making this awesome combination of flavors for your special someone. And to top it off? MAKE PIE! Enjoy these wonderful dishes, each good enough to stand on its own, but when combined, a match made in heaven. The filet of beef is tender and buttery and slightly garlicky, and while many cooks choose to dab on blue cheese butters or herb sauces, when done properly, this meat will and should stand on its very own legs, i.e., flavors. And the shrimp? Follow the directions exactly, and they will be some of the most tender and flavorful shrimp you have ever eaten. The crostini and green bean recipes are chock full of garlic as well, so if you are garlic challenged, these recipes may not be for you; however, my guess is that when you try them, you will enjoy them. So Queens and Princesses unite, and learn and make these dishes for your King and Prince Charming – he will love them! *Cook’s Note: You will be layering all of these dishes with salt and flavoring; it is the best way to achieve that final, lip smacking, result!
Pan Seared Oven Roasted Filet Mignon
2-3 6-8 oz. Filet Mignon, about 1 1/2 inches thick, room temperature
1 tbl. salted butter
7:2:2 seasoning (recipe follows)
1 tbl. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. granulated garlic (garlic powder)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Let the meat come to full room temperature for best results.
Season all sides of your filets with the seasoning above. In an oven safe pan (preferably cast iron), over medium high to high heat, melt the butter until it barely browns; then lay the seasoned beef in the pan, roughly 2-3 minutes on the first side undisturbed, then flip, for 2 minutes on the other side; you want to see a seasoned buttered “crust” on the meat, but you don’t want to end up with overcooked filet mignon! So, set a timer for all of these cooking instructions. Turn off the heat, and place directly into the oven; roast for about 8-9 minutes, for medium rare; but watch the meat or use a thermometer, as it could be as little as 5 minutes for rare, or 12 minutes for medium to medium well; for me, foolproof, perfect pink inside even once the meat has rested, is about 8 minutes. When desired doneness is achieved, remove to foil, and wrap individually to process the rest of the cooking; let rest in the foil for 10 minutes; remove, slice, and serve with any juices draped over that have accumulated, and a sprinkling of chives. Can you say . . . melt in your mouth? Yum!
Tomato Basil Balsamic Crostini
2 ripe tomatoes, Roma or Summer, finely chopped, juices and all
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
1 tbl. balsamic vinegar
1 splash of red wine vinegar
6 cloves of garlic, half minced and half rough chopped
8 leaves of basil (added in last – see directions)
Sourdough Baguette, thinly sliced and toasted
To Toast Baguette slices:
In a 350 oven, place bread slices, brushed with olive oil on both sides (and a sprinkle of kosher salt and black pepper) on a baking sheet; bake for about 12 minutes, turning over once during baking when bottom of side one is lightly browned; you want to achieve a fairly toasted bread slice, so don’t underbake! Once removed from oven, rub each side with a smashed clove of garlic. Cool 20 minutes; top with tomato mixture. *The goal here is to have a salty, crunchy vehicle on which to house the cold, tomatoey, vinegary, garlicky goodness! Opposites attract? Indeed!
In a bowl, place tomatoes, garlic, vinegars, salt and fresh cracked black pepper; let marinate at least 12 hours, preferably 24 hours, giving it an occasional stir. About one hour prior to serving, add in chopped basil. Check for taste; re-season if needed. Place atop toasted baguette slices, and garnish with black pepper and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, if desired.
Bacon Brown Sugar Green Bean Bundles
8 thick bacon slices
6 tbls. unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 lbs. green beans, trimmed and blanched
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment. In a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat, cook the bacon in batches until the slices are just barely beginning to brown along the edges, but still very underdone and pliable, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and let cool; then cut each slice in half, crosswise. In a small bowl, whisk together butter, salt and garlic powder.
Divide the green beans into 16 equal portions; about 5 beans to a bundle. Gather each portion into a neat bunch or bundle, and wrap a half slice of bacon around the center to hold them together. Place the bundles on the baking sheet with the loose end of the bacon underneath. Brush the beans with the butter mixture, and then sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter mxture.
Roast the beans until the bacon is cooked through and browned, about 20 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Spicy Lemon Garlic Shrimp
2 pounds raw shrimp, deveined, shells on preferably
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, but into pieces
1 tsp. kosher salt
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and rough chopped
1/8 cup of parsley leaves, chopped
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 whole large lemon, juiced
Preheat oven to 350. Rinse shrimp to separate, then arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. In a large bowl, place butter, garlic, lemon juice, salt, parsley and red pepper flakes. Using your pastry blender, blend to combine all ingredients, until small crumbles form (which you will press together and deliver over the shrimp before baking). Sprinkle the cold butter “crumbles” over the shrimp.
Bake until the shrimp are opaque and butter is hot and bubbly, about 10 minutes; no more, as they will continue to cook, just like the filet mignon, once removed from the oven; this is where so many go wrong, and end up with leathery, chewy shrimp! Remove from oven; spoon all of the garlicky, buttery juices over the shrimp, and serve with some hot crusty bread for dipping and mopping up all of those yummy juices!
*Note: If you like mesculun salad mix, add some cherry tomatoes, red onion rings or thicker slices, shaved parmesan slices, and toss with this vinaigrette: 1/2 cup extra light olive oil, 2 cloves minced garlic, 3 tbl. white wine vinegar, 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard, 3/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. black pepper; whisk together; then add in 1 tbl. A-1 steak sauce, and a few dashes of hot sauce; it goes extremely well under the filet of beef or alongside this meal!