Seared Beef Medallions with Watercress Salad, Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes and Vidalia Onion Broth

Chef Brian Piasecki   
Le Cellier Steakhouse   Canada    Epcot Center

8 Beef Tenderloin Medallions, 2 - 3 oz each
1 TBSP canola oil
1/4 cup Herb Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1 watercress salad batch (recipe follows)
1 batch Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes (recipe follows)
1 batch Roasted Vidalia Onion Broth (recipe follows)
kosher salt to taste
black pepper to taste

Place a heavy skillet or a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Season the beef tenderloins with salt and pepper. Add the canola oil to the skillet. Sear the beef to medium rare, or 2 to 3 minutes per side. When the meat is finished cooking, place on a plate until service.

To Assemble:

Add a scoop of mashed potatoes to the center of a pasta style bowl. Make the watercress salad with the herb vinaigrette, and place on top of potatoes. Place beef on top of the salad. Finish plate with the Roasted Vidalia Onion Broth. (This means to pour the broth around the base of the potatoes).

Herb Vinaigrette

1 shallot, finely minced
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 tsp chives, finely chopped
1 tsp parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tsp picked thyme
1/2 tsp rosemary, finely chopped
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
2 TBSP white wine (Sauvignon Blanc)
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt to taste
black pepper to taste

In a saucepot, bring shallots, garlic, thyme, rosemary, and vinegar to a boil. Boil for one minute then remove from heat. Pulse blend with a hand blender. Allow to cool to room temperature. Add the wine, chives, parsley, oil, salt and pepper. Whisk all together to blend well. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.

Watercress Salad:

1 cup watercress, washed and dried
1/2 cup arugula, washed and dried
1/2 cup red (bell) pepper, julienne
1/2 cup red onion, julienne
1/2 cup herb vinaigrette (see recipe)
kosher salt to taste
pepper to taste

Just prior to service, add all ingredients into a medium sized mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well to coat with the herb vinaigrette.

Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes

2 lbs Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup whole milk, warm
2/3 cup cream cheese, room temperature
kosher salt to taste
black pepper to taste

Place the diced potatoes in a medium saucepot and cover with cold water. Add about 1 TBSP of kosher salt. Boil the potatoes over medium high heat until just tender and cooked through. Drain water from potatoes. Process the cooked potatoes in a ricer or a food mill over a bowl that contains the butter and cream cheese. When finished, add the warm milk and fold together with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to mix well. Make sure butter and cheese is fully melted. Add salt and pepper to taste. Reserve warm for service.

Roasted Vidalia Onion Broth:

3 lbs Vidalia onions, peeled and cut in half
1 lb whole shallots, peeled
2 sprigs of thyme
1/4 cup pure olive oil
1/2 gallon chicken stock or broth
kosher salt to taste
pepper to taste

In a large mixing bowl, toss the Vidalia onions, shallots, thyme and olive oil together to coat. Place these ingredients on a cookie sheet and roast in a 400 deg oven for 30-45 minutes or until the onions and shallots start to turn brown and caramelize. Once onions and shallots are dark brown and tender, place all of the roasting ingredients into a stock pot and cover with the chicken stock or broth. Bring to a light simmer for 45 minutes. Pull from the heat and puree with a hand blender well. Place back on the heat and reduce by about half. Remove the sauce and strain well. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Keep warm for service.

A note:

While all these are extraordinary together, they are each worthwhile in their own right. This salad is a delight anytime you need a salad. This salad dressing is great with any simple salad. The onion broth will bring any beef dish to life. Can you tell that I like this?

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