Madeira wine is named after the Portuguese-owned land where it is made,
Madeira is a distinctive, fortified wine that is subjected to a lengthy heating process during maturation.
It can range in color from pale blond to deep tawny, and runs the gamut from quite dry to very sweet.
The pale golden Sercial is the lightest, driest Madeira, while the rich, dark Malmsey is the sweetest. Then there are Bual and Verdelho, which are both medium sweet wines and either one would be my choice for cooking.
The flavor of the American made Madeira's cannot compare with that of the Portuguese originals, but they are also a fraction of the price. The lighter Madeiras are often served as aperitifs, while the richer, darker Malmsey is perfect for after dinner sipping.
Madeira is an excellent cooking wine that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.
Pepper crusted filet mignon over honey truffle whipped potatoes topped with a Madeira pan sauce, asparagus and zucchini
Makes 4 servings
4 each 8 to10 oz. filet mignons
4 tablespoons of crushed black peppercorns
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of shallots, minced
1 zucchini, medium diced
10 spears of asparagus, chopped
2 cups of beef stock
2 cups of Verdelho or Bual Madeira wine
2 tablespoons of butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Honey truffle whipped potatoes
4 large Idaho potatoes, large diced
4 tablespoons of honey
2 tablespoons of truffle oil
2 cups of heavy cream
5 tablespoons of butter, unsalted
First we will start with the potatoes. Clean them, peel them and cut them into large wedges, then place them into a large pot of cool water covering them buy at least 1-2 inches. Place on the stove over medium heat.
Now we will start the beef.
First, season each piece of filet with salt and crushed black pepper on all sides. Then in a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over high heat and brown all sides of the meat, remove the beef from the pan and turn the heat down a bit and add the zucchini and asparagus to the pan and cook for 2 minutes.
Next, remove the pan from the heat, add the Madeira wine, then gently place the pan back onto the stove. Be careful because all liquor is flammable. If it catches fire don't panic, just let it burn out or cover the pan with a lid and it will go out. Cook down the wine for 5 minutes over medium heat then place the filets back into the pan add the beef stock and cook for another 8 minutes turning the beef a few times during this time. At this point turn off the heat and let sit.
By this time, the potatoes should be done. You can tell by sticking a fork in them. The fork should go right into them and come out with no problem. If not, cook them a little longer until they do so. Once the potatoes are fork tender, remove them into a strainer and let them sit for 1 minute, allowing the water to fully drain, then place the butter, cream, honey and truffle oil in a large bowl and mash them until they are smooth. Then add salt and pepper, mix really well and cover until you are ready.
To bring this dish together get your pan on high heat. Place a big spoonful of whipped potatoes in the center of four dinner plates, then place one filet on top of the potatoes, add the butter to the pan and mix until it is blended. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if it needs it. Spoon the asparagus and zucchini around each plate, then distribute the remaining sauce evenly and you are done. I hope you enjoy.
Tips and techniques
. When you are checking to see if the potatoes are done, make sure you test more than one piece to ensure that you don't have lumpy potatoes.
. Squash is coming into season (October to March) so make sure you make the best of it. Acorn, butternut, hubbard, pumpkin and spaghetti are all great in there own way.
. When you buy your filets, try to get them all the same size so they cook evenly.
Contact Chris Kennedy at Seasoned Catering at (561) 351-0221, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.