Thursday, May 31, 2007

Eating Well On Tyler's Turf

Tyler's Ultimate with Tyler Florence

Roasted Tenderloin of Beef with Spicy Crab Salad
The Ultimate Stuffed Potato

To get the recipes:
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Tyler tells us his favorite rhyme as a kid wasn't from a book, but from a menu - Surf and Turf. That's sweet. Oh, they're showing the final product at the beginning of the show. It's a plate filled with glorious looking food spinning around on a turntable. That's not Surf and Turf...That's ART!!!

At the top of his list of celebration foods is Surf and Turf. "It's a one-two punch of juicy steak and succulent seafood that guarantees a knock-out meal."

His version consists of a pan seared filet mignon topped with a flavorful crab salad. Served alongside is a baked potato with a mammoth filling of bacon and broccoli in a mornay sauce.

He gets the baked potatoes in the oven. He's using russet potatoes. He tells us to "fork" them (HE said it), which lets the steam out, so they don't explode in the oven. Good plan. He rubs some olive oil on and sprinkles over Kosher salt. The oil and salt will give the potatoes a nice crust. They go into a 400 degree oven for one hour.

As Tyler starts on the crab salad, he tells us that this is actually one of the greatest dishes he's ever come up with. I like his confidence. He picks through a pint of really good pasteurized "which means cooked" crabmeat - bluefin from Maryland. He mixes up mayo, cilantro and sambal. (That IS different.) The sambal is Asian Chili Paste with Garlic. He "rakes" the crabmeat into the dressing. He adds salt and pepper and gives it a quick mix. "DONE!" with its "fresh, clean, explosive flavors." He puts it in the fridge, covering it with plastic wrap pushed right down on top of it to keep it fresh.

For the stuffed potatoes, he cuts the bacon into thin strips and puts them in a preheated pan.

He cuts the broccoli into bite-sized pieces.

Tyler exclaims "It smells bacon always does." He readies a pot of water with a hit of Kosher salt and blanches the broccoli for 3 to 4 minutes. His Dad used to have a baked potato night and put out all kinds of fillings "almost like a little potato bar." Cool dad. Bacon gets drained on paper towels.

Tyler adds oil to the cast iron frying pan that he absolutely loves. It's almost 100 years old! AND it looks in great shape. He brings the oil to smoking temperature. He ties up each filet with a piece of string, so that it will hold its shape AND cook evenly. (Do yourself a favor and tie it up BEFORE you start heating the oil.) He holds the tied-up filet up to the camera. Just beautiful.

He salts and peppers the filet. (Remember Michael's tip to always season both sides evenly?) He likes to do this on a plate, so he can go back through one last time to use all the salt up. I like a guy who knows how to conserve.

He "drops' the filets in the HOT pan and sears them. He's "caramelizing the protein in the beef" as he reminds us that "color is flavor." I like that saying. I have to remember to use it.

He pulls out the broccoli from the simmering water with a skimmer. Giada does that alot too. I wonder why. I think that risks the broccoli staying in the hot water longer than it should. I like to pour the whole mess into a colander. I guess it helps that I love my colander.

He goes on to the bechamel sauce. He melts a half a stick of butter in a pan and sprinkles in a couple tablespoonfuls of flour. He stirs it with a wooden spoon. Don't color the roux at all. He tells us that we must use whole milk, because 2% will make the sauce split after it comes to a boil. Sorry, Tyler, I have to differ. I've made bechamel sauce with 1% milk HUNDREDS of times and it has never split. It's true that it doesn't get as thick, but then I can either add a bit MORE flour or a bit LESS milk. I have no objection to whole will be a lot more luscious, but you may use 1 or 2 % and it'll be fine.

Anyway...he adds the milk slowly and beats until smooth. Then he bungs in the cheese. Hold on a second...It takes a lot longer to cook a bechamel that THAT. I know he has to get the show on the road. But he needs to indicate that, without the miracle of television, it can take 10 minutes to thicken that sauce BEFORE you add the cheese. He adds the broccoli pieces, chives and bacon.

Wow, that does look absolutely "adequate", as my aunts would say when faced with something of unparalleled lavishness.

The filet mignons are searing away. After they've colored beautifully - remember what COLOR is?* - he adds cherry tomatoes, still on the vine, to the pan with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Then he puts the pan in a 400 degree oven for 8 minutes to cook the steak rare.

The baked potatoes come out. He "cracks through the crust, which creates a vessel" for the great filling. He ladles all that good cheese sauce stuff over and in. Interesting, he doesn't scoop out any of the potato and chop it up and add it to the topping. He puts a bit more cheese on top and it goes back in the oven. That is really something. It's a gorgeous huge hunk of creamy savoriness.

Tyler dresses arugula to use as a garnish. (Remember what I've said about ever-present arugula? I guess Tyler got the memo from the Food Network.) He seasons it up with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

He pulls the the filets and cherry tomatoes out of the oven. He cuts off the strings. (Do you have kitchen shears? They're very handy for all kinds of jobs.) TF plates the filets and drops the cherry tomatoes in between the filets. There's "a nice little sauce in the bottom of the pan." He pours it in between the steaks.

He puts a big scoop of crab salad on each filet and garnishes them with arugula. "This is a modern approach to surf and turf." He gets the "ultimate side dish" out of the oven and places the stuffed potatoes on the dish.

He serves himself a filet, cherry tomatoes and some arugula. He tops the plate off with a hot potato. He grabs some silverware and says "I'm going in deep." He doesn't know what to go for first. I approve of his choice - a bite of filet and crab. Pretty fabulous, just like the chef.

*Color is FLAVOR, of course.

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