by Georges Mokbel, wine pairings by Marlene Rossman

These recipes are a continuation of the Party Planner article (page 13) of the January 2009 issue.

In this next dish, the tenderloin is cooked whole, retaining its juices. By adding a fresh-herb crust with garlic and cumin will not only add another layer of texture to the beef, but it will also heighten the flavor immensely. The salsa verde recipe shown below is a twist on the traditional Argentinean chimichurri sauce. The salsa adds a bold flavor, color and freshness to this dish that is sure to tantalize your guests’ palates.

Salsa Verde-Crusted Beef Tenderloin

Yield: 6 servings

2 lbs. whole beef tenderloin
1 t. each of sea salt and freshly ground pepper
3 T. all-purpose flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 T. Salsa Verde (recipe follows)
1 c. panko breadcrumbs

Method (1) Season the beef with salt and freshly ground pepper. On high heat, sear the tenderloin on all sides until golden brown, directly on the grill or in a large pan. (2) Place tenderloin on parchment-lined sheet tray. Lightly sift top layer with flour, and brush with egg. In a medium bowl, mix Salsa Verde with breadcrumbs. Press herb and breadcrumb mixture on tenderloin to form a light crust. (3) Finish baking tenderloin in 375˚F oven until desired temperature is reached. Allow tenderloin to rest for 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with side dish of choice, such as roasted redskin potatoes and asparagus spears.

Salsa Verde (2 cups)
2 large cloves garlic
2 t. ground cumin
1 t. salt
1/2 c. packed each mint leaves, cilantro leaves and flat Italian parsley
1 1/2 c. olive oil
1/2 c. lemon juice
1 unflavored vitamin C pill, crushed

Method (1) Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth, 2-3 minutes. (2) Cover to contact with plastic food wrap, and store in the cooler.

Wine pairing: Urraca Primera Reserva 2005 (Argentina), a blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, is a perfect companion to the richness of the tenderloin and the spice of the Argentinean-style salsa.

The following dish highlights salmon as the center stage star by presenting two distinctly different ways of preparation, flavor and texture. The fillet takes on an Asian theme/flavor, and the cake is more traditional but with charm. Together, the salmon duo accomplishes both high protein and high style. By always presenting yourself as a creative pioneer and educating your guests on your culinary artistry, it will raise the bar and differentiate you from your competitors.

Salmon Duet: Ginger-Sesame-Crusted Salmon Fillet and Crispy Salmon Cake with Baked Pea Risotto

Yield: 6 servings

Ginger-Sesame-Crusted Salmon
1/2 T. fresh ginger, grated
1/4 c. sesame seed
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 T. melted butter
1 c. panko breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper, as needed
6 pieces of salmon, cut into 3-oz. servings
Flour, as needed
1 whole egg, lightly beaten
1/2 t. each of salt and fresh ground pepper
Salmon Cakes, recipe follows
Baked Pea Risotto, recipe follows

Method (1) Make the ginger crust by mixing the grated ginger, sesame seed, garlic, butter, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. (2) Place the salmon skin-side down on a parchment-lined sheet tray; season salmon with salt and pepper. Lightly sift the top of the salmon with flour, and brush with the egg, using a pastry brush. Sprinkle the top surface of the salmon with the breadcrumb mixture. (3) Bake in a 400˚F oven for 20 minutes. (4) Serve alongside the Salmon Cakes and the side dish of Baked Pea Risotto.

Salmon Cakes
2 lbs. whole salmon fillets
1 T. olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper, as needed
1/2 c. mayonnaise
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 T. fresh lemon juice
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 each salt and freshly ground pepper
1/8 T. dill
1 c. panko breadcrumbs, plus additional for topping the cakes
Melted butter, as needed

Method (1) Place the whole salmon fillets on a parchment lined sheet tray. Drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 350˚F for 30-35 minutes. Allow the salmon to cool at room temperature before flaking the flesh into a large bowl. (2) Add mayonnaise, eggs, lemon juice, scallions, salt, pepper and dill. Fold in breadcrumbs. (3) Use a small ice cream scoop to portion the salmon mixture into six cakes. Form the patties with your fingers, and toss in additional breadcrumbs. (4) Place the patties on a greased parchment lined sheet tray. Drizzle with melted butter. Bake at 400˚F for 20 minutes.

Baked Pea Risotto
2 T. olive oil
1/4 c. shallots, finely diced
1 1/2 c. Arborio rice
6 c. lobster, shrimp or vegetable stock, heated
1/2 c. white wine
1 1/2 c. frozen peas
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 c. panko breadcrumbs

Method (1) Heat olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat; sweat shallots until translucent, 4-5 minutes. (2) Add Arborio rice, and toss for 3 minutes until the rice is coated. (3) Add wine and 1/3 of hot broth. Stir consistently, adding another 1/3 of hot stock each time the liquid evaporates. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. (4) Remove the risotto from the heat, and fold the frozen peas. Portion the risotto into 6 individual ramekins, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350˚F for 20-25 minutes.

Wine pairing: The marvelous young Owen Roe Pinot Noir “The Kilmore” 2007 (Oregon) is earthy and filled with cherries and spice, complementing both salmon preps and the risotto.