OK so a very quick little suggestion/idea if you are planning on making dinner for two for Valentine's Day on Friday - super-simple but delicious eye fillet steaks (that''s tenderloin or filet mignon to non-antipodeans) wrapped in prosciutto, topped with a mushroom and red wine sauce. I suggest serving them with either a good creamy mash or potato gratin and a simple green salad. Everything can be prepped in advance, it looks pretty good on the plate, but is not a fiddly nightmare that sees you hot, bothered and frustrated by the time you sit down. Put on some music, take the top of a bottle and have a great evening!
2 large or 4 small eye fillet steaks
4 strips prosciutto
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
4 medium field mushrooms, medium/thinly sliced
1 tbsp butter
a sprig of thyme
1 small clove garlic, crushed
1/3 cup red wine
1 tbsp brandy
2 tbsp cream
Right - first off, get your steaks and season each side well with salt and pepper. Wrap a strip of prosciutto around the edge of each one, securing with the end snapped off a toothpick (no choking on these later please). To make your steaks a perfect round, tear off 2-4 (depending on your number of steaks) sheets of plastic wrap. Lie a piece of prosciutto wrapped steak on it's edge (not the flat round side) and roll up in the plastic wrap. Then take the plastic wrap ends and use them to roll the steak away from you - the ends will twirl up and keep the steak squished into shape and perfectly round. Leave them like this, in the fridge, as long as you can, minimum a couple of hours and up to overnight.
Now I never make mashed potatoes during the evening when I am going to serve them as they are brilliant zapped in the microwave...don't look at me like that - they are! I am not going to give you a recipe for mash because I am sure you don't need it - just follow the mash rules below...
- use floury potatoes such as Agria or Yukon Gold
-Don't chop them too small, they get too watery
-Always bring them to the boil from a cold start, not dropped into boiling water
-I am a total pig and only add hot (must be hot) cream and butter with plenty of salt and pepper
-If you have a ricer use it - I only do for dinner parties...for a smoother 'Paris Mash'
-when I store the mash for re-heating I poke a big wodge of butter (1-2 tbsp) into the middle, so that when it is reheating it melts in the middle and gets stirred through just before serving - see, not so crazy!
Green salad - say no more - mixed greens with a 1:2 white balsamic:extra virgin olive oil dressing, seasoned with a pinch of sugar and salt.
OK, mash pre-made (!), salad organised, table set, glasses of wine poured and onto the perfectly cooked steak. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F). Heat oil in a fry-pan (big enough so that steaks have plenty of room and aren't steaming) over a medium/high heat. Add steaks and give a quick roll around edges of prosciutto then one side - 3 minutes only. Flip - another 3 minutes only. Put in the oven for 5 minutes exactly. Remove and allow to rest for 5 minutes while you cook the mushrooms. (Please do not serve un-rested they will be bleedy all over the plate, rested they will be perfectly pink and not-bleedy). Add butter to the pan with mushrooms and thyme. Cook over a medium high heat for a few minutes until plumped and gorgeous. Add garlic, red wine and brandy and cook another couple of minutes over a medium heat until wine is reduced by half. Throw in the cream and stir to combine, give one last minute then remove from the heat. Plate up and enjoy! (Mash only takes about 2 minutes to re-heat). You might want to follow this up with a wee Espresso Your Love Mousse...as Julia would say Bon Appetit!