If one must talk about restaurants having signature dishes, then this has to be one of mine. It remains on the menu by popular demand. The combination of textures and flavours works so well: the fillet is beef at its best, moist and succulent, offset by the crisp polenta croûte which also absorbs the juices. The clean, sharp taste of the green sauce provides the perfect complement making a dish that has depth and balance.
Remove the steaks from the fridge well ahead of time to allow them to come to room temperature • Make the polenta at least 1 hour before you cook the steaks, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Grate the Parmesan cheese and lightly oil the baking tray. Then stir the cheese and half the butter into the polenta and season liberally with salt and pepper. Pour out on to the baking tray. You should have a sheet of polenta about
To make the Salsa Verde: finely chop the garlic and then put it in a food processor with all the other ingredients except the olive oil. Process until evenly chopped and then add the oil, continuing to process until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.
Preheat the oven to its highest setting.
Put one of the frying pans on a moderate heat and melt half the remaining butter in it with
Cook the steaks: heat the other frying pan dry until very hot. Flatten the tournedos slightly with the heel of the hand and season with salt and mignonette pepper. Cook over a high heat for 3 minutes on each side for rare, 4 minutes for medium.
Transfer the cooked steaks to a warm plate, cover and keep warm.
Pour the beef stock and sherry or Madeira into the pan and stir to deglaze, quickly reducing the liquid to a syrupy consistency. Add the remaining butter, a small piece at a time, swirling the pan until it incorporates. This finishes the texture of the sauce and gives it a beautiful gloss.
Put a crisp polenta croûte on each warmed plate and top with a tournedos. Stir into the sauce any juices that have exuded from the tournedos while resting and then spoon this over each steak before spreading the salsa verde on the top.
This dish has everything: subtle yet forceful, perfectly juxtaposed textures and a visual delight Faites simple indeed.
© 1993 Alastair Little and Richard Whittington estate. All rights reserved.