It is no secret how much I love food… especially considering I keep a blog that is mostly devoted to loving it, making it, eating up every last crumb of it. There is not just an art to food, there is a science, or as Alton Brown would say: “There’s a lesson here”. I am an avid follower of Good Eats. Not only are the recipes innovative, but the history and science behind key ingredients is engaging. Also, the show is pretty funny, lively, and energetic, something you don’t really get with every cooking show. Then again, that was the point. Alton Brown wanted to make the cooking show appealing, and this was made possible by his own original recipe: 1 part Julia Child, 1 part Mr. Wizard, and 1 part Monty Python.
“I kept thinking, ‘Somebody has to make a food show that is actually educational and entertaining at the same time… a show that got down to the ‘why things happen.’ Plus, I hated my job – I didn’t think it was very worthwhile.”
This year, Alton Brown and the Food Network celebrated Good Eats‘s 10 Year Anniversary, and I thought I would pay tribute with his Beef Tenderloin Salt Dough recipe on P&P. Not only did the recipe fit perfectly with Halo 3: ODST, but it would be a great way to show my appreciate for one of my favorite chefs.
Have a happy one, Alton Brown!
Enough gushing. Enough of that. Let’s get down to business. Below is the recipe (along with another recipe for an optional creamy side!) for my own take on the Beef Tenderloin Salt Dough. Now, since a true-blue beef tenderloin cost $85.00, I decided to substitute the tenderloin with an eye of round instead. It’s cheaper, and as I would soon discover, not lacking in deliciousness. Changes made in the recipe are noted below. Other than that, the recipe you have here is strictly Alton’s.
The H.E.V is the transport for all ODST. So, if the dough is the H.E.V then that makes the meat the… uh-oh. I’ve served with you, Rookie, but now I get to serve you! Mwhahahaha!
Beef Eye of Round Salt Dough H.E.V
* 5 cups all-purpose flour
* 3 cups kosher salt
* 3 tablespoons fresh ground black pepper
* 5 egg whites
* 1 1/2 cups water
* 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, and/or sage)
* 1 (5 lb) Eye of Round Beef
(or a 6-7 lb Beef Tenderloin)
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
Place the flour, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl.
**Hold on, hold on. Okay, I cannot stress this enough. Use. Kosher. Salt. If you use table salt, you will have a bitter, horrible meat.**
In another bowl, whisk the egg whites and water and add to the dry ingredients along with 2 tablespoons of the herbs. Combine with a potato masher until the mixture begins to come together.
Then knead with your hands for 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large zip-top bag, seal, and let stand at room temperature for 4 hours, or up to 24 hours.
Transfer dough to a floured surface and roll out to 3/16-inch thickness, approximately a 24 by 18-inch rectangle. It doesn’t have to be exact, just enough to wrap around the meat, and make sure that surface is floured or you’ll lose dough! Trim away extra dough, if necessary. Sprinkle the remaining herbs on the center section of the dough and gently press down.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
**If you are working with BEEF TENDERLOIN, you big spender, you’ll want to pay attention to this next bit!**
In order to achieve uniform cooking, fold over slender tail end of tenderloin and tie with kitchen twine.
**Okay, you got that? Moving right along!**
Set a large electric griddle at its highest setting; brush the meat with the olive oil and sear on all sides until well browned, approximately 10 minutes. Rest the meat for at least 5 minutes or until it is cool to the touch so as not to melt the dough.
Place the meat in the center of the dough. Fold top part of dough over, flipping back about 1-inch of dough onto itself. Repeat with the bottom half of the dough. Press together the 2 flaps of dough and seal. Make sure the dough is not too tight around the meat. At the ends of the meat, press together dough to form a seal and cut away any excess.
**’Scuse me, pardon me. Just one quick thing here. With that excess dough? Yeah, hold onto that to repair breaks in the dough around the meat should you happen to find any. I also made an extra bed of salt dough on the sheet pan in case there were any breaks beneath the eye of round**
Transfer to a sheet pan, place in the oven and roast to an internal temperature of 125 degrees F, approximately 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.
Seriously. Invest in a meat thermometer. I am very glad I did. You have to trust the food here. It will definitely cook! So don’t fuck with it, believe in yourself and the recipe, and you’ll do fine. If you get really nervous though, check it with the meat thermometer.
The meat will continue to cook 10 to 15 degrees more. Cut salt crust at 1 end and extract meat by pulling out of dough tube. Slice and serve immediately.
All right. That was Alton’s recipe. He – and I – would recommend not eating the dough unless you like recreating that moment when you’re swimming at the beach and catch a mouthful of ocean. Toss it, or compost heap it.
Broccoli Au Gratin
This dish is easy and so yummy. Cooking anything “au gratin” usually involves a brown crust achieved by broiling breadcrumbs and cheese, or butter and egg. You can also slow cook it, and finish it under the broiler. I made this dish way before I needed it, stored it in the fridge, and then brought it back to life in the oven as the meat finished cooking in the dough on the counter.
1/2 cup of broccoli
1/2 cup of water
1/4 tsp. of sugar
2 Tbl. butter
2 Tbl. flour
1/2 cup of milk
2 Tbl. olive oil
(you can also use melted butter)
2 Tbl. Panko breadcrumbs
(though any breadcrumbs will do)
1 Tbl. Parmesan cheese
Trim your broccoli and put into a pot of water with the sugar. Bring to a boil, covered, and then reduce the heat. Cook the broccoli for about five minutes, or until it is bright green and tender. Drain, and set aside in a shallow cooking dish.
In a pan, melt the butter over medium heat, and add the flour after a complete melt. Mix until smooth, and slowly add the milk. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently until thickened. This will take roughly 2 minutes.
Remove from heat, adding a little olive oil (not the 2 Tbl. spoons) if the mixture looks very thick. We’re going for a sauce here.
Pour the sauce of the broccoli. Mix breadcrumbs and olive oil (or melted butter) before sprinkling over the top of the broccoli. Also add the Parmesan for an even coat.
Cook in the oven at 350(F) for 30 minutes, and snap the boiler on if you don’t have that brown crust you like. Keep an eye on it though, or the boiler will leave you with a black crust, and that is definitely not tasty. Hey, I like a little char on my food sometimes, but not in this case.
Stay tuned next week for a review of Dead Space.