“Filet Mignon” conjures up visions of a lean and tender cut of prime beef either simply grilled or lavishly dressed up with extravagant accoutrement such as fois gras, mushrooms, truffles and rich sauces like Tournedos Rossini. However they appear, they are special. Some years back, American menus started offering “Surf and Turf” – entrées loaded with meat and seafood for hungry diners who wanted to strap on the old feedbag, so to speak. I never cared for such hedonistic platters, but I do love the idea of bringing surf to the table dressed up like turf. Besides, just try to find a suitable wine for both red meat and seafood.
During our 7-year stint in Baltimore, we often dined at Atlantic*, a seafood restaurant under the helm of Chef Spike Gjerde. In the midst of other stellar entrées, he served a spectacular “Filet Mignon of Tuna with a Red Wine Reduction” that seduced me on my first visit. As a matter of fact, I never ordered anything else and depended on the kindness of my fellow diners for samples of the rest of his menu. The last time I was there, I praised the chef on this dish and quizzed him about his technique, which he graciously shared. The method I am referencing is coating the filet in crisply cooked and finely chopped bacon. A little beaten egg white standing in as “glue” is the trick. Vic used this method in the post featuring Seared Bacon Crusted Albacore Tenderloin with Pomegranate Reduction.
Though complicated-looking and impressive in presentation, this dish is relatively simple to prepare, and the Marionberry Catsup can be prepared days ahead.
Filet Mignon of Salmon with Marionberry Catsup
Inspired by fond memories of a similar dish served by Chef Spike Gjerde at Atlantic in Baltimore
The flavors of this dish are deeply rooted in history as the Native Americans have been pairing salmon with local berries for a long time.
For 4 servings:
For the Marionberry Catsup:
- Set aside a few of the berries for garnishing the cooked salmon
- 4 cups (960 ml) marionberries, pureed and pressed through a food mill or fine mesh strainer to remove seeds (blackberries are a fine substitution)
- 6-8 tablespoons (90-120 ml) light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) balsamic vinegar or to taste
- ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) ginger
- Pinch (.3 ml) of ground cloves
- A pinch (.3 ml) of salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- Mix all ingredients together in a saucepan and simmer until thickened
- Taste and adjust the balance of sweet, salty, and sour if necessary. Too sweet – add more vinegar. Too salty or sour – add more brown sugar.
For the salmon:
- 8 salmon fillets, cut the same thickness as your bacon, with pin bones removed
- 8 slices applewood-smoked bacon
- Skewers for securing filets
- Oil for searing
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Precook the bacon until done but not crisp. A bacon press is helpful to keep the bacon slices flat.
- Set aside to drain.
- Carefully inspect the salmon using your fingers to locate and remove any pin bones with a pair of stainless steel pliers.
- Align two filets end to end and slightly overlapping and roll into a round, filet shape.
- While holding the filets, wrap 2 slices of bacon around and secure with a skewer long enough to go through all.
- Trim the skewer if necessary.
- Sprinkle both sides of the filets with salt and pepper.
- Heat an ovenproof skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat and add the oil, coating the bottom.
- Add the filets and sear on both sides until browned, about a minute or two per side.
- Place all in the oven and roast until a thermometer inserted into the center registers 120°F (49°C).
- Remove, let rest under a foil tent for about 5 minutes.
- Pour a pool of the catsup in the plate, place one filet and drizzle more catsup over.
- Garnish with a few of the fresh berries.
The sides are roasted organic, baby fingerling potatoes liberally coated with olive oil, salt, pepper, and Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute on a bed of fresh watercress.
*Alas, the Atlantic has sailed over the horizon, but Chef Gjerde remains a serious force on the culinary scene in Baltimore and now dazzles his diners at Woodberry Kitchen, a farm-to-table restaurant much like ones found here in Oregon wine country.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Music, food and photography are at the center of Charles’ life. He performed with the Dallas Symphony, Dallas Opera and was assistant principal bassoonist with the Fort Worth Symphony for more than 20 years. When Charles and Victor moved to Baltimore, Charles created Lone Star Personal Chef and Catering Service and taught cooking classes at Williams-Sonoma. Now in Salem, Charles is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Mountain West Real Estate, taught cooking classes for children at the A.C. Gilbert Discovery Village, and owns and operates Charles Price Photography. Charles and Vic enjoy entertaining and frequently host dinners as fundraisers for local non-profits and charities
There are no comments yet. Why not be the first to speak your mind.