Roasted Beef Tenderloin Scampi

I have been wanting to post a recipe for beef tenderloin as it is fairly easy to make and when cooked correctly, very tender and flavorful.  There are many ways to serve and prepare; rolled and stuffed, seared and roasted, marinated and grilled, topped on salads, drizzled with sauces, in a crunchy baguette, topped on a crostini, mixed into a frittata.

Seared and roasted is one of my favorite ways to cook a beef tenderloin and a good basic method.  I decided to do a surf and turf type entre; basically prepping two dishes, a roasted beef tenderloin and a shrimp scampi.  No sauce was necessary for the tenderloin as the juices from the scampi topped the tenderloin slices with a light, lemony sauce.

Roasted Beef Tenderloin Scampi

For the tenderloin:

2 pounds beef tenderloin, trimmed of excess fat
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Tie the tenderloin with twine to help hold its shape and create an even thickness.  Mix together the olive oil and remaining spices to form a paste and rub all over the tenderloin.  (The tenderloin can be prepped at this point and refrigerated over night or until ready to continue – bring to room temperature before proceeding)

Heat a cast iron or ovenproof skillet over medium high heat and allow to get hot.  Add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Put the tenderloin in the pan and sear it, turning once.  Place the pan in the oven and roast until the internal temperature reaches 125 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 20 minutes.  Remove to a platter and let rest for 10 minutes.  Cut into 1/4 inch slices and platter.

For the Shrimp Scampi:

1 lb of shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 – 4 large garlic cloves, minced
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

In a large skillet, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium high heat.  Add in the shrimp, garlic and salt.  Cook for about 2-3 minutes, turning the shrimp until they are just pink.  Stir in the parsley and lemon juice and cook 1 minute.

Pour shrimp and sauce over the tenderloin slices.  Serve with additional lemon wedges.

Turning a lazy weekend lunch special

I seek out salmon whenever I can.  First for all the “essential” benefits “essential” to my health and second (or equally important) it’s one of my favorites.  Of course, I now only seek out wild caught salmon and that can be a bit pricey especially as I am wanting it weekly.

I have satisfied my desires and my wallet by finding these great wild caught salmon pouches by Chicken of the Sea.  They are perfect for mixing in salads, burgers and crab cakes.  Obviously, using a freshly cooked salmon fillet is more ideal but these certainly do just fine for a quick meal providing good taste and those “essentials”.   The recipe is straight off the back of the pouch and tweaked to my liking!  I will usually double up the recipe, but below is for one pouch.

Simple Salmon Cakes

1 6 oz pouch skinless, boneless  wild caught Pink Salmon
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Dash of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 medium egg, beaten (or 2 egg whites)
1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs (or more if mixture is not firm enough)
1/4 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix lightly to combine well.  Form mixture into 4 balls and flatten slightly.  Heat a  skillet or flat grill pan and spray with Pam or lightly butter.  Cook about 3-4 minutes per side or until golden brown.  Only turn one time to avoid crumbling the cake. 

Serve with a citrus salsa, a roasted red pepper sauce or as above with a mix of sour cream and wasabi sauce.

Fresh Herb Roasted Salmon

Salmon is a favorite of mine.  I enjoy it roasted, grilled, seared, poached.  There are so many ways to prepare this fish.  It’s even so versatile, you can serve it for breakfast, in a frittata or scrambled with eggs and cream cheese.  For lunch, grilled on top of a salad, or poached and served cold with a mustard sauce for a cocktail party. 

This dish was quickly prepared for a weeknight dinner, requested by my daughter on her last evening home.  I made a lemon herb cream sauce but it’s not totally necessary. 

Fresh Herb Roasted Salmon

2 6 oz wild caught salmon fillets
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs – I used fresh parsley, oregano, basil, and tarragon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425.  Place salmon on a lightly oiled baking sheet.  Spread Dijon mustard on each fillet.  Mix the fresh herbs with the lemon juice and gently press on top of each fillet.  Drizzle on additional olive oil. 

Roast for approximately 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your salmon.  Plate and serve with sauce or serve with a lemon wedge.

 Lemon Herb Cream Sauce

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley, tarragon and oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Melt butter, stir in flour.  Add milk, stirring constantly until the sauce begins to bubble and thicken.  Cook 2 minutes longer and then add herbs, salt and cheese, stirring until combined well.  Remove from the heat and add in lemon juice.

Cuban Shrimp Creole (Enchilado de camarones)

I am beginning to take a liking to Cuban food.  Partly due to my fascination in exploring different ethnic dishes and finding many similarities, such as Greek Moussaka is similar to Italian Lasagna.  Every nationality has distinctive staple foods and styles of preparation. 

Shrimp Creole is one dish I have ordered several times at our favorite Cuban restaurant.  Cuban cuisine is not known to be spicy, but it is well seasoned.  This dish however, does have a bit of a kick and that may be one reason I enjoy it so much. 

In attempting to recreate it, I was aware that Cuban’s prepare their own sofrito (not to be confused with soffritto, which is the Italian version) of onions, garlic and sweet peppers and spices such as cumin, bay leaf and cilantro.  Taking that and adding what I know of sauce making, I made my version of Shrimp Creole.  Traditionally it is served with white rice.  We chose to have Cuban bread to sop up the sauce and round out the meal with an Avocado Salad. 

Shrimp Creole

1 1/2 lbs peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp, leaving the tails on
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped large onion
1 cup chopped sweet peppers, I used a mix of yellow, orange & red peppers
3 garlic cloves minced
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup white wine
pinch of cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

In a large pan, heat the olive oil.  Add the onions and sweet peppers and saute until the onions and peppers become soft.  Add the garlic cloves and lightly saute.  Stir in the tomato sauce, tomato paste, wine, water, cayenne pepper, cumin, oregano, sugar and salt and pepper.  Simmer for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.  Add the shrimp and simmer for 15 minutes until the shrimp turn pink and curl up.  Serve over white rice or with Cuban bread as we did!  Makes 4 servings.

Avocado Salad

You won’t find many vegetable dishes in Cuban cuisine; but you will see this salad.  The avocado used is the larger Florida variety.  It is less buttery and flavorful than a California Haas; however, in this salad the taste is creamy and refreshing especially when paired with a somewhat spicy dish such as the Shrimp Creole.  The traditional dressing is simply oil, white wine vinegar and salt.  I added lemon juice to brighten the flavor as well as pepper and a dash of Complete Seasoning. (Complete Seasoning is used in Latin cooking; a blend of salt, pepper, cumin and other spices.  It does contain MSG so I use it very sparingly.)

Avocado Salad

1 large ripe Florida avocado, cut in chunks
1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste
Dash of Complete Seasoning

Place avocado chunks and onion slices in a bowl.  Pour over dressing and lightly toss.  Serve immediately.