"Recipes from the Chef's Kitchen"

Show 348

The Inn of Little Washington
Washington, Virginia

Internationally Acclaimed Chef
Patrick O'Connell

Recipes can be found in his cookbook


"Filet Mignon" of Rare Tuna Capped
with Seared Foie Gras on Charred Onions
and Burgundy Butter Sauce

Tuna lends itself well to some of the same methods used for cooking beef.  This preparation could confuse a blindfolded cowboy into thinking he was biting into a succulent steak.  In this dish, a center-cut portion of tuna is trimmed to resemble a filet mignon, grilled rare; topped with a slab of seared foie gras (fattened duck liver), and sauced with an explosively full-flavored red wine sauce. It's served resting on charred onions and ribbons of zucchini and carrot.  Naturally, the same concept works beautifully with a fillet of beef.  If foie gras is unavailable, just omit it.  The dish will still be sensational without it.

1)  4 Center-cut tuna steaks, about 4 ounces each, trimmed
      into a shape of a filet mignon
2)  One large white onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
3)  1/4 cup olive oil (approximately)
4)  2 large carrots, peeled and diced very thin lengthwise into
5)  2 medium size zucchini, diced very thin lengthwise into
6)  2 tablespoons Brown Butter (recipe follows below)
7)  Salt and Freshly ground pepper to taste
8)  4 ounces foie gras
9)  Burgundy Butter Sauce (recipe follows below)

1)  Heat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over high heat until
      very hot.
2)  Moisten the onion slices with oil and lay in the hot skillet
      one layer deep. Cook until lightly charred, turn over with
      tongs, and char the other side.  Remove from the pan and
      keep warm.  Repeat until all the onions are cooked.
3)  Meanwhile, bring about 2 quarts of lightly salted water to
      a rapid boil and drop in the carrot ribbons. Cook for about
      2 to 3 minutes, or until the carrots are tender but still
      al dente. Lift the carrots out of the water with a slotted
      spoon and place in a bowl.  Using the same pot of boiling
      water, repeat this process with the zucchini ribbons.
      (Note...The zucchini will cook much faster than the carrots.)
4)  Add the cooked zucchini to the carrots.  Add the Brown
      Butter and season with salt and pepper.
5)  Using a very sharp knife dipped in warm water, cut the
      foie gras into 1/2-inch-thick slices.  Sprinkle with salt and
      pepper and keep chilled.
6)  Moisten the tuna steaks with oil and season with salt and
      pepper.  Place into the same hot skillet used to char the
      onions.  Sear for about 2 minutes on each side.  Remove
      and keep warm.
7)  In a smoking-hot 7 inch saute pan, sear the liver slices on
      both sides from about 30 seconds; or just until a crisp outer
      crust forms.  Remove and keep warm.

To Serve:
1)  Quickly lay three or four charred onion rings in the
      center of each of four warm serving plates.  Arrange two
      carrot ribbons and two zucchini ribbons over the onions
      in a nestlike pattern.  Place a tuna steak on top, then finish
      with a slice of foie gras and a few charred onions.
2)  Saute each plate with three pools of Burgundy Butter Sauce.

Brown Butter
(makes 1 cup)
      In a heavy skillet over medium heat, melt the butter,
       stirring constantly.  Increase the heat and continue
       stirring as the butter foams, and begins to turn golden
       brown.  Immediately remove the butter from the heat
       and carefully pour it into a heat-proof container.

Burgundy Butter Sauce
 (makes 2 cups)
1)  1 cup balsamic vinegar
2)  1 1/8 cups red wine
3)  1 shallot, cut in half
4)  1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter; cut into
      tablespoon-size pieces
5)  1/2 cup (1 stick) cold lightly salted butter; cut into
      tablespoon-size pieces

1)  In a medium-size heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine
      the vinegar, wine and shallot over medium heat and
      reduce to a syrupy consistency.
2)  Using a wooden spoon, incorporate the butter into the
      sauce one piece at a time.  When all the butter is
      incorporated, remove the shallot pieces.  Keep warm
      until ready to serve.

Coeur a la Creme with Raspberry Sauce
(serves four)

Coeur a la creme is an old french country concoction that is both earthy and elegant, rustic and dressy -- appropriate for any occasion.  It's a wonderful complement to whatever summer berries are in season.  This dessert is served at The Inn to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries.  It can be made in less than five minutes and never fails to knock'em out -- even more so than an elaborate cake that two two days to execute.

One large (16-ounce) or four individual (4-ounce) perforated heart-shaped ceramic molds lined with cheesecloth will be needed to create this dessert.  The perforated molds allow the excess liquid , or whey, to drip through the cheesecloth, leaving the delicious "heart" of the cream.  Coeur a la creme molds are usually available at kitchen supply stores.

1)  8 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened
2)  1 1/4 cups heavy cream
3)  1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4)  1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
5)  1 tablespoon Chambord or other raspberry liqueur
6)  1/2 cup sifted confectioners' sugar

...For the Raspberry Sauce...
1)  1 pint fresh raspberries
2)  1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3)  1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1)  Fresh Raspberries
2)  Mint leaves

1)  Cut a piece of cheesecloth into four 6-inch squares.
      Dampen and  wring out lightly.  Press one square into
      each of four perforated heart-shaped ceramic molds
      and set aside.
2)  In a bowl of an electric mixer, whip the mascarpone
      cheese, 1/4 cup of the cream, the vanilla, the 1 tablespoon
      lemon juice, and the Chambord until thoroughly blended.
3)  In a small bowl, whip the remaining cup cream and the
      confectioners' sugar until the cream forms stiff peaks.
4)  With a rubber spatula, fold the whipped cream into the
      chilled cheese mixture in three batches.
5)  Spoon the finished mixture into the prepared molds and
      fold the edges of the cheesecloth over the tops.  Lightly
      tap the bottoms of the molds on the counter to remove
      any air spaces between the mixture and the molds.
      Refrigerate on a tray or baking sheet a minimum of 2 to 3

Raspberry Sauce:
     In a blender or food processor, puree the raspberries,
      granulated sugar, and 1 teaspoon lemon juice.  Taste the
      sauce for sweetness and adjust the sugar or lemon sauce as
      needed.  Strain and refrigerate.

To Serve:
1)  Unfold the cheesecloth and drape it over the sides of the
      molds.  Invert each mold onto a serving plate.  While
      pressing down on the corners of the cheesecloth, carefully
      lift off the mold.  Smooth the top with the back of a spoon
      and remove the cheesecloth slowly.
2)  Spoon raspberry sauce onto the plate around the heart
      and garnish with fresh berries and mint leaves.

Good Eating!!!