Wild Mushrooms and Cognac Cream
Wine pairing: Twomey Merlot, Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet, or red Bordeaux
8 oz parsnips, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 bay leaf
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
2 TBL extra-virgin olive oil
4 oz each hedgehog, yellow foot, and black trumpet mushrooms or, 12 oz assorted wild mushrooms of your choice, cut into bite-size pieces
2 TBL chopped fresh sage
2 TBL unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 TBL fresh lemon juice
fine sea salt
1 TBL extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 bunch Lacinato kale, stems and ribs removed and leaves chopped into bite-size pieces, (about 4 cups packed)
1/4 cup water
1 TBL unsalted butter at room temperature
Fine sea salt
2 tsp black peppercorns, coarsely ground
1 1/2 tsp each pink and dried green peppercorns, coarsely ground
1 tsp white peppercorns, coarsely ground
6 filet mignons, 5-6 oz. each
Fine sea salt
1/4 tsp. grapeseed oil
1/4 cup Cognac
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup beef demi-glace, homemade or purchased
2 TBL finely chopped fresh chives
Make the Parsnip Purée
In a small saucepan, combine the parsnips, cream, and bay leaf and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cook until the parsnips are tender, about 25 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a blender and purée until smooth, 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and keep warm until serving.
Prepare the Mushrooms
Place a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, mushrooms, and sage and saute until the mushrooms release their liquid and the liquid has nearly evaporated, 2-4 minutes. Stir in the butter and lemon juice and season lightly with salt. Transfer to a small bowl and keep warm.
Prepare the Kale
Wipe out the same skillet and return it to medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and shallot and saute until the shallot begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the kale and water and cook over medium heat until the kale is wilted and nearly all the water has evaporated, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the butter and season lightly with salt. Transfer to a bowl and keep warm.
Prepare the Filets and Make the Sauce
In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients for the peppercorn mix and stir well. Season the steaks with salt and then coat the steaks evenly with the peppercorn mix, pressing it into the meat until it adheres.
Wipe out the skillet and place it over high heat, and add the grapeseed oil. When the oil is hot, add the steaks and sear, turning once, for 3-4 minutes on each side for medium-rare, depending on their thickness. Transfer the steaks to a platter and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
To make the sauce, lower the heat to medium and pour in the Cognac (watch out for flames), and deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon. Cook until the Cognac has nearly evaporated, then pour in cream and demi-glace and simmer until the sauce has reduced by half, 3-5 minutes. Stir in the chives.
Spoon 2 tablespoons of the sauce in the center of each serving plate and place a filet on top of the sauce. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the parsnip purée along one side of the steak and spoon the mushrooms along the opposite side. Arrange the kale over the parsnip purée. Serve immediately.
Aged Gouda Crème Brûlée with Cheese Tuiles
Wine pairing: Twomey Merlot, Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet, or an old vine Australian Shiraz
"Although this is not intended as a dessert it's a great way to continue enjoying red wines after dinner." Ideally the cheese should be aged for three or more years so the salty butterscotch notes are more pronounced.
2 TBL unsalted butter
3/4 cup finely grated Gouda, about 2 oz
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
4 oz aged Gouda, coarsely grated
4 large egg yolks
1 tsp fine sea salt
18 Castelvetrano olives
1 1/2 cups roasted almonds
24 high-quality fruit-and-nut crisp crackers
Make the Cheese Tuiles
Rub the bottom and sides of six 2-ounce ramekins with butter. Put 2 tablespoons of the Gouda on the bottom of each ramekin. Place the ramekins in a microwave oven and cook on high for 1 minute. The cheese should be melted and bubbling. Run a paring knife around the inside edge of each ramekin to loosen the cheese tuile, then transfer the tuiles to paper towels to cool for 10 minutes. Reserve the ramekins. The tuiles should be crisp at this point. If they are not, transfer them to a plate and microwave again for 30 seconds, repeating if necessary until they are crisp. When the tuiles are cool, transfer to an airtight container and keep at room temperature until using.
Make the Crème Brûlée
In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer over medium-low heat. Stir in the Gouda and remove from the heat. Let steep in a warm place for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Strain the cream through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl and discard the cheese. Lightly whisk the egg yolks in a large metal bowl just until blended. Add a few teaspoons of the cream to the egg yolks while whisking constantly to combine. Repeat with the remaining cream, adding a few teaspoons at a time and whisking constantly to blend, until all the cream has been incorporated. Whisk in the salt.
Pour the custard into the previously used ramekins. Place the ramekins, not touching, in a baking dish just large enough to accommodate them. Pour 2 cups of hot water into the bottom of the baking dish and cover the dish with aluminum foil. Bake until the custard is set, about 45 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool for 15-20 minutes, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.
Place a single cheese tuile on top of each crème brûlée and serve with the olives, almonds, and crackers.