Two of our resident teenagers have birthdays two days apart, so we decided to do one celebration for both. We thought this might present a problem because everyone gets to choose their own birthday dinner and the chances of two teenagers of different genders agreeing on one meal was unlikely, but when Max threw out the idea of Filet Mignon topped with Crabmeat, Lizzie gladly agreed. Even more surprising, however, was the discovery that my teenagers are actually willing to help in the kitchen (and they can follow directions quite well), when they are on a tight schedule because they have plans after dinner. In addition to the Filet Oscar, we had oven roasted potatoes, and buttermilk mashed potatoes with bacon and scallions (there was disagreement about potatoes), soy garlic green beans, and grilled bread. I will post the mashed potatoes separately because they are worthy of their own post. I typically make the Bernaise sauce in the blender, but it needs to be refrigerated to thicken up, so I made it stovetop- I actually had Max whisking it until it thickened. It turned out great, but should have come off the heat a little sooner as it did start to separate a bit. I didn’t have any tarragon vinegar, so I improvised and just heated a clove of smashed garlic and fresh tarragon in 6 TBS.white wine vinegar for about 5 minutes and then strained it and cooled it – it works well in a pinch. Things were hectic in the kitchen, so I didn’t have much opportunity to take photos, and some were taken by the kids. I couldn’t even get a proper picture of the table because the kids were too anxious to eat…or just get on to more important celebrations with their friends. (Serves 6)
- 6 Medium Sized Beef Filets
- 1.5 Lbs. Snow Crab Legs
- Bernaise Sauce – see below (you could use Hollandaise sauce if you prefer, but Bernaise is traditional)
Remove filets from the refrigerator and set aside. Bring a large stockpot of water to boil. Drop in crab legs and cook for 6-8 minutes depending on size of crab legs. Drain crab legs, run under cold water and then put in an ice bath until cool enough to work with. Using lobster crackers and kitchen scissors, crack legs and remove all of the crabmeat. Set aside. Heat the broiler or barbeque to high. In the meantime, prepare the Bernaise sauce:
- 3 Egg Yolks – beaten
- 3/4 Cup Butter
- 1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
- 2 TBS. Tarragon Vinegar (see note above for a quick version)
- 2 Sprigs Fresh Tarragon – finely chopped
- 1 Sprig Fresh Parsley – finely chopped
- 1 Medium Shallot – finely chopped (about 1 TBS)
- Fresh Ground Pepper
In a small saucepan, heat wine, vinegar, shallot and herbs. Some people recommend straining the mixture, but I just chop my shallots and herbs very finely (I like a little texture). Allow this mixture to cool. In the meantime, find a heatproof bowl (unless you have a double boiler) that will sit comfortably atop a large saucepan or small stockpot. Fill the pot with enough water so that the water is about an inch below the bowl (you do not want the water to touch the bottom of bowl when it is placed on top. Bring water to a low boil. Once the liquid mixture is fully cooled, melt the butter (I do this in the microwave). Add the vinegar mixture to to bowl atop the pot (or the top of a double boiler) and then add alternately the beaten eggs and melted butter, whisking steadily until they are well combined. The sauce should be smooth and glossy. Season with fresh ground pepper. Remove top bowl from heat, but reserve bottom pot of water in case you need to just reheat the sauce a little.
Season filets well with salt and pepper and put on grill or under broiler. Cook to desired temperature (medium rare is recommended). Remove from grill and allow to rest for a few minutes. Check the temperature of the sauce, if it is not warm enough, return the bowl to the top of the pot for a minute to reheat. Plate the filets, top them equally with the crabmeat and top with Bernaise sauce. Garnish with fresh parsley.