The tart I plan to take to my family’s Easter gathering is now setting in the refrigerator. There will be plenty of time in the morning for the finishing touches before Easter service then heading to my aunt’s home. Putting the dessert together was easy–the bulk of my time was spent trying to find a tart pan with the right dimensions as prescribed by the recipe. I found it at the third store…even after years of baking and drawers overflowing with baking supplies, I still don’t have everything I need, apparently. Collecting the right tools aside, the tart is showing signs of being a winner. If my family approves tomorrow, you can count on seeing it here soon.
Between preparing the tart crust and pouring the filling into it, I had time to put together this salad for dinner. I haven’t shared very many beef dishes here because my husband and I try not to eat too much red meat but I had a craving to satisfy.
I seared a piece of filet mignon in butter and served it on a bed of greens. Normally, I would serve the salad on the side and prepare roasted potatoes and other vegetables to accompany the meat but tonight I wanted something a little lighter. I also wanted something bright and refreshing to bring the greens and the meat together and ultimately I came up with this.
I had a fresh batch of scallion oil that I intended to drizzle over noodles but seeing it on the counter inspired me to make it a component of the dressing for my dinner. Sticking with an Asian theme, I combined lemon juice, fish sauce, a bit of sugar, Thai chilies, some of the scallion oil and mint leaves, since they looked especially appealing today in my tiny herb garden.
I wasn’t quite sure how the dressing would pair with the steak and greens so I was careful to drizzle just a little on my plate. The verdict? This was one of the best dinners I’ve had in a while. The light hand on the dressing was a good call. A little is all you need to perk up the greens and the filet but the slightly minty-spicy essence adds a lot to making this dish special. Because I used a Meyer lemon here, the dressing isn’t very tart. In fact, it hints at sweetness from the touch of sugar I added so the kumquat slices provided the tart element I was looking for.
I realize that a good piece of meat rarely needs accompaniment but I promise you that this mint-scallion dressing would be worth a try–what a treat this dinner was tonight.
- ***For the Scallion Oil (Makes about 1 cup)***
- ½ cup oil (vegetable or olive oil)
- 9-10 scallions, sliced thinly, green parts only
- ***For the Dressing***
- Juice of 1 large lemon (I used a medium-sized Meyer lemon, about 2-3 tablespoons)
- 1½ tablespoons fish sauce (Tiparos brand, less salty than other brands)
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 1 tightly packed tablespoon fresh mint leaves, sliced thinly
- 2 generous tablespoons of the scallion and oil above
- 1-2 Thai bird chilies, sliced thinly (jalapeño or serrano would work, too)
- ***For the salad***
- 1 large piece beef or 2 smaller pieces (I used a fairly large piece of filet mignon)
- Mixed greens, enough for two people
- Kumquat, 2-3 pieces, sliced thinly
- 1 tablespoon butter
- salt, pepper and/or paprika for seasoning the steak.
- To prepare the scallion oil: heat the oil over medium heat then add the scallions. Stir for a few seconds, turn off the heat then transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for 10 minutes. This will help preserve the color of the scallions. Take it out of the refrigerator and wait until it reaches room temperature before using.
- To prepare the dressing: combine all the ingredients and let sit for a few minutes for the flavors to meld.
- To prepare the steak: Heat a tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat in a cast iron or stainless steel skillet. Place the steak seasoned with salt and pepper (and paprika) and cook for about 4 minutes on each side. My filet was over 1-inch thick and to serve it rare as pictured above, I partially covered the skillet. (When I prepare more than one steak, I like to sear them in a skillet as described here then finish them in the oven). Transfer the filet to a plate and wait a few minutes before slicing it.
- To assemble the salad: Arrange the greens on two plates then top with slices of beef. Garnish with kumquat slices and drizzle each plate with 1-2 tablespoons of the dressing. Serve.