Seared Filets…Seared Rib-Eyes…U Pick Original or “Re-Make”

As I have said before, I like to cook.  Not sure what it is.  Perhaps it is the signal that the end of the day is here…or at least near.  Time to wind down.  Pour a glass of wine or make a cocktail and relax while dinner is being prepared.  Or I guess it could be the creative license that you give yourself while you are cooking…out of this?…use this instead.  Not real sure about this spice or ingredient or the measurement or whatever…you can make it up.  Try something different than what is “called for”.  Or just try something entirely new, different and somewhat unique.

That is the tough part tho’.  Something new and unique.  Sure it can be done.  But to be honest, it is a rare thing that someone can truly say…”I created this myself”…  Usually it comes from something else.  Sure, it is rather common to put your own “twist” on a recipe or your signature on something.  It is kind of like when a movie is “remade”.  Sometimes it can be an improvement, or maybe it can become a classic in itself.  But sometimes it is better to leave things be and just keep the original, well, original.  Like the Magnificent Seven.  What a great movie!  I loved it.  But it is a remake of a classic movie from 1954 by Akira Kurosawa, The Seven Samurai.  A year ago I might have added the John Wayne “classic”  (well, I think it is) True Grit.  Except that it is being remade this year with Jeff Bridges.  I am actually looking forward to this.  And to celebrate it, I have a bottle of 2007 True Grit Petite Syrah, I will open.  So, sometimes the original may be the best, but the “newer” or different version can also be very enjoyable.  Movies, Recipes, Cocktails, Fashion, etc.

I bring this up because I made a recipe that was fantastic last Saturday night.  While adhering to the recipe “pretty true to it’s original form”, I did make a few changes due to what I had handy or just wanted.  I also found myself thinking “If I make this again…and I am sure I will…I think I would…(add this, change that, more of this)”   Regardless, the recipe is well worth sharing with everyone, and I highly recommend you try it.  It is as good as anything you will get at a restaurant.

It is not”an original”.   It is from Fine Cooking magazine, or I guess I should say e-zine.  If you do not get these updates, open up another window on your computer and go to Fine Cooking’s website and sign up.

So this recipe is called “Seared Rib-Eye Cutlets with Romesco Sauce and Wilted Spinach with Olives“…although I used a couple of filets, about 1.5-2 inches thick.  The Roasted peppers add a little bit of sweetness to this dish while the crushed red pepper flakes provides just enough of a spice with a kick.  As the title suggests, the recipe calls for rib-eye cutlets, and I used Filet Mignon.  So I will tell you how I fixed this, and if you would like the “original” you can look it up…

Seared Filet Mignon with Romesco Sauce and Wilted Spinach


  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup coarse breadcrumbs (I made mine by putting some whole grain rustic bread, a little stale, in a food processor)
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 roasted red bell peppers (homemade or jarred), chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium tomato, cored and chopped
  • 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 bunches spinach (about 1-3/4 lb. total), stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup pitted green olives, roughly chopped
  • juice from one orange and juice from one lemon,

I started by patting the filets dry, rubbing both sides with a broken piece of fresh garlic, and added salt and pepper. I then prepared them for searing in a cast iron skillet.  I seared them about 3.5 minutes each side.  Meanwhile I heated the oven at 350 and placed a smaller skillet in there to hold the filets when they were finished searing.  I heated them in the oven for about another 6 minutes.

Then I reduced the heat  of the skillet on the stove to medium low; added the breadcrumbs, almonds, and pepper flakes to the skillet and cooked, stirring constantly and scraping up any browned bits, until the mixture is fragrant and toasted, about 2 minutes. Added the peppers, garlic, tomato, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper and cook, stirring often, until softened and juicy and the flavors have melded, 3 to 4 minutes.

Then I transferred the mixture to a food processor. Added the vinegar and 2 ­Tbs. warm water and puréed until smooth. With the motor running, drizzle in 2 Tbs. of the oil. Transfer the sauce to a bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper, and keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 Tbs. oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring often, until just softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the spinach, cover, and cook for 1 minute. Uncover and continue to cook, tossing often, until just wilted, about 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat and toss in the olives, lemon juice, orange juice, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper.

Spoon the romesco sauce onto 6 plates, top with the filets and wilted spinach, and enjoy.

Now while I was preparing this, I happened to enjoy a Bacon-Infused Manhattan (my next post, I promise).  But during the meal, we had a Pinot Noir, chilled to about 60 degrees.  It was perfect, really enhanced the sweet and heat in the Romesco sauce.

As far as variations are concerned, I thought the olives were good, and I enjoy olives.  But many people do not, so…you could possibly substitute them with walnuts, chopped up coarsely.

Anyway, just served as is, even with the rib-eye cutlets instead of the filets like the original recipe, this is still an amazing meal to enjoy at home with your friends and loved ones.  While I happen to like my version of the “original”, and I liked the remake of Seven Samurai as The Magnificent Seven, I really do not think you can improve on the original “One-eyed fat man” John Wayne in his only Oscar-winning role in True Grit as Rooster Cogburn.

And while you are with your friends, family and loved ones…remember that you can always improve on ways to show them you care and love them.


Published in: on September 27, 2010 at 6:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: