Previously, on tastingmenu.wordpress.com –
So, I was thinking about the wellingtons I’d recently done and how I might go about improving the dish with a sauce. A good friend of mine recently told me that Chef Ramsay had been serving the wellingtons with a dark (red wine?) sauce on episodes of Hell’s Kitchen. Looking about the web, I came across a sauce offered by Chef Ramsay to be served with ribeye steaks. An online version of the recipe can be found here –
The sauce seemed like a reasonable match for the wellingtons and not too far different from the Wine Merchant’s Sauce by Jacques Pepin. Now, I had to do a little translating from metric to ounces and what not, so the ingredient list turned out to be:
8 3/4 oz shallots, sliced
4 tbsp olive oil (I used grapeseed oil here, a la Thomas Keller)
1 garlic clove, lightly crushed (grated a la Nobu Matsuhisa was 3/4 t)
5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 2/3 cup red wine (Here, I used Georges DeBouef Beaujolais Morgon)
1 2/3 cup beef stock or brown chicken stock, preferably homemade
knob of butter
1/4 t 4:1 salt/pepper mix (my addition, since it just says season with salt and pepper)
While the process began with sautéeing the sliced shallots in my pot with the oil over a high heat for about 3
minutes until lightly browned, stirring often and then seasoning with ground pepper, I left out the step with ground pepper until later.
I then added the grated garlic and sprig of rosemary and continued cooking for a further 3 minutes, stirring
often to prevent the shallots from burning.
Once that was done, I poured in the vinegar and cooked the mixture until the liquid evaporated away to a
syrup. This I had to do carefully, remembering Chef Thomas Keller admonition to reduce the balsamic slowly
because if you boiled the balsamic vinegar too hard, the acid remained (see The French Laundry Cookbook, p. 238).
At that point, the wine was added and cooked over 50% max heat to reduce it to about 1/3 of what it was (a
little more than 1/2 c with no solids). Then the stock and the salt/pepper was added and the whole mixture
was reduced to about 1 cup. Since my wife isn’t fond of cooked/heated butter, I chose the leave it out, much in the manner of Chef Keller’s sauce bordelaise.
Finally, the sauce was strained and kept warm while I prepared the ribeye steaks, blanched some string beans
and baked two russet potatoes. (The russet potatoes were scrubbed clean, rubbed all over with olive oil, sprinkled with salt, about 12 holes poked into it and baked for an hour in the oven that had been preheated to 350 degrees F).
My wife and I both agreed the sauce paired very nicely with the steak. I’m curious how the sauce would turn out if I made it with a bordeaux or the Martin Ray Cabernet Sauvignon. I think I would have to plate slices of wellingtons if I wanted to pour the sauce into the diner’s dishes; only the edges of the crisp puff pastry would get wet. Were I to serve individual wellingtons, I’d probably have to present the sauce in individual sauce dip containers. Pouring the sauce into a plate with an individual wellington would likely make the bottom of the crisp pastry crust soggy.