This recipe may look a bit complicated but it’s well worth the effort. Even better, this is a dish that actually benefits from being prepared the day before you plan to serve it. The perfect stand-by for a dinner party!
- 11⁄2 lb thick end of a whole fillet (called the chateaubriand) 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1⁄2 tsp sea salt
- 1⁄4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the Béarnaise sauce:
- 9oz unsalted butter
- 2tbsp dry white wine
- 2tbsp tarragon vinegar
- 2tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
- 1shallot, finely chopped
- 1⁄2tsp ground white pepper
- 2 egg yolks
- 1⁄2 lemon, pips removed
- 1tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- pinch cayenne pepper
- sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- fresh watercress sprigs, to garnish
- chips, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 475°F. Allow the chateau briand to come to room temperature then rub all over with the olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper.
- Heat a heavy-based oven proof frying pan. Seal the chateau briand over a high heat for about 6 minutes until golden brown on all sides, turning regularly.
- Transfer the pan to the oven and roast the steak for about 12 minutes for medium-rare, or to your liking. Remove from the oven and allow to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the Béarnaisesauce. Melt the butter in a small pan or in the microwave.
- Combine the white wine, vinegar, one table spoon of the tarragon, the shallot and white pepper in a pan. Bring to a simmer and reduce until about one tablespoon of liquid remains.
- Strain in to a liquidizer or miniblender, pushing down the tarragon leaves to extract the liquid.
- Add one tablespoon of warm water to the liquidizer together with the egg yolks and turn on the machine. Pour the hot butter into a jug and start to pour the butter very slowly on to the egg yolks. As the sauce emulsifies, increase the butter flow to a thin, steady stream.
- As the Béarnaise sauce thickens, you will notice a change in the sound of the machine. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more warm water or lemon juice to taste.
- Add the remaining tarragon leaves, the parsley and cayenne pepper and blend briefly. Season with salt. Keep the sauce warm until you need it in a bowl or jug set in a pan of hot but not boiling water.
- Carve the chateaubriand into 12-16 slices, divide between warmed plates, garnish with watercress and serve with Béarnaise sauce on the side and a big bowl of chips.