Black Forest Filet Mignon for Two

Black Forest Filet Mignon for Two

2 (10-ounce) beef steaks cut from the small end of the tenderloin (filet mignon)
20 pitted black cherries
Garlic salt
2 medium-size domestic mushroom caps
Unsalted butter or olive oil, for sauteing
2 beefsteak tomatoes
Romano cheese, grated
Pinch of chopped fresh parsley
Pinch of paprika

For the Bearnaise Sauce:
1 teaspoon minced shallots
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon leaves
1/3 cup tarragon vinegar
4 egg yolks
1/2 tablespoon cold water
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup warm clarified butter (see note)
Black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste

Make a slit in the filets, being careful not to cut all the way through, and stuff with the pitted cherries. Sprinkle garlic salt over the meat. Set aside while you heat a grill.

Meanwhile, start the Bearnaise Sauce: Place the shallots, tarragon leaves and vinegar in a small saucepot. Cook to reduce slowly until the liquid is nearly evaporated (be careful not to scorch). Set aside to cool.

Place the beef steaks on the grill and cook to the desired doneness. Meanwhile, lightly saute the mushroom caps in hot butter or olive oil until tender but not mushy. Set aside.

While the meat finishes cooking, finish the bearnaise sauce.

In the top of a stainless-steel double boiler or in a stainless-steel bowl, whip the egg yolks, water and lemon juice. Place the bowl over barely simmering water and whip the mixture lightly until the yolks are cooked to soft peaks. Remove from the double broiler and slowly pour the clarified butter into the sauce, whipping lightly to blend. Add pepper to taste, hot pepper sauce and the cooled tarragon reduction.

Place the filets on plates and pour about 1/2 cup bearnaise sauce over each, then top with a mushroom cap.

To prepare the stuffed tomatoes, slice the top off of 2 beefsteak tomatoes, sprinkle with grated Romano cheese and top with a pinch of parsley and paprika. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 25 minutes.

Note: To clarify butter, melt 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter in a small saucepan or in a microwave oven (a glass measuring cup works well for this). Wait a few minutes while the white milk solids rise to the surface. Skim off the milk solids and cook with the clear butter that’s left. Refrigerate leftovers.

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