Filet of Beef topped with lump crab meat, asparagus and a classic Béarnaise sauce is Steak Oscar. And it’s perfect for a special Valentine’s supper. As elegant as it looks, this dish is very easy! Yes, even the Béarnaise sauce…which I will demystify for you! Get ready to wow your sweetheart!
I firmly believe in making great impressions with elegant foods that are easy to prepare. And while this dish does contain Béarnaise sauce, which some people consider to be difficult, I assure you, it’s not hard to make (yes, there are Béarnaise sauce mix packets…but nothing beats the flavor of making this sauce from scratch).
There are four elements to this simple dish. I’ll talk about them in the order you prepare them. First is the crab meat. I buy jumbo lump crab meat and put it into the bowl of a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, select a bowl that will sit on the edge of a sauce pan without touching the bottom. You’ll want a lid that will lay over the bowl. Place water in the bottom of the double boiler, add the crab to the top of the double boiler and cover. Place on the stove over medium heat and allow the crab to warm through. Turn off the heat and set aside, leaving it covered.
Next is the Béarnaise sauce. I love Béarnaise sauce! While it is typically served with steak, I use it to top fish dishes too. I always serve this recipe for Whole Flounder Stuffed with Crab and Shrimp topped with Béarnaise.
There are two ways to start the Béarnaise. The first is to start with white wine vinegar, minced shallot and fresh tarragon; simmering this until the vinegar reduces to a couple of tablespoons. The second is to start with tarragon vinegar, add shallot and reduce to a couple of tablespoons.
Once the vinegar is reduced, allow it to cool a bit and strain off the shallot and tarragon leaves. Add egg yolks and whisk to thicken. The next step is to slowly drizzle in melted butter, whisking it to create an emulsion. And it is this step that people find difficult. As long as you slowly drizzle in the butter and whisk the entire time, the mixture will emulsify. IF your sauce “breaks” (which means the butter separates from the vinegar/egg yolks), there is a simple way to bring the mixture back. Just whisk in another egg yolk.
Continue whisking until the Béarnaise sauce thickens to coat the back of a spoon. At this point, it can be removed from the double boiler bottom, and the heat, covered and set aside.
The third step is the filet. I pan sear mine in an iron skillet. There is nothing like the crust that you get from a cast iron pan. The trick is to get the pan screaming hot before you do anything! Then, add a bit of oil or butter. Add the filet that has been patted dry and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Sear without moving it for about 3 minutes on each side for a perfect medium rare. Every time!
For the final step, I cut my asparagus into 1 inch pieces, place them in a glass bowl with about 2 tablespoons of water and microwave them for 2 minutes on high. This will steam the asparagus to a perfect, still slightly crunchy, stage. If you are wanting to hold the asparagus, remove it from the microwave and run it under cold water to halt the cooking process. Drain off the water and allow to stand at room temperature until you’re ready to assemble the plates.
Then assembly: Place a filet on each plate.
Step two: add the lump crab meat:
Step three, add the asparagus:
Step four, spoon on Béarnaise sauce:
That’s all there is to it! Four easy steps and you have one of the most rich and elegant, yet simple meals!
Wow your Valentine. Or make this any time you want to really impress. It will be a hit. I promise!
- ¼ cup white-wine vinegar
- 1 small shallot, peeled and minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped tarragon leaves
- 4 egg yolks
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Kosher salt, to taste
- A pinch of ground black pepper
- In a small sauce pan, over medium heat, add the vinegar, shallots and tarragon leaves.
- Bring just to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer until there are only a few tablespoons of liquid left, approximately 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat, and set aside to cool.
- Fill the bottom of a double boiler (or a small saucepan) with an inch or two of water, and set over medium-high heat to boil.
- Strain the vinegar mixture and place the vinegar into the top of the double boiler (or a metal mixing bowl) along and the egg yolks, then whisk to combine.
- Turn the heat under the double boiler of water down to its lowest setting.
- Place the top of the double boiler on, making sure that it does not touch the water directly. Continue to whisk the yolks until they thicken, approximately 5 to 7 minutes (you should just about double the volume of the yolks).
- Slowly whisk in the butter at a very slow drizzle, whisking slowly to combine and emulsify.
- Taste the sauce and season with salt and black pepper.
- If the sauce is too thick, stir in a splash of hot water.
- If the sauce "breaks" (the butter separates from the egg), add another egg yolk and whisk to bring the sauce back.
- Serve immediately.
- PER SERVING:
- 1 -1½" filet of beef (about 6-8 ounces)
- salt and ground black pepper
- ½ tablespoon butter (or olive oil) for the pan (Do NOT increase this amount for each serving)
- ⅓ cup lump crab meat
- ⅓ cup cut (1 inch) fresh asparagus spears
- 2 tablespoons water
- FOR THE CRAB MEAT:
- Using a double boiler, add about 2 inches of water to the bottom of the pan and heat over medium heat.
- Add the crab meat to the top of the double boiler, cover and allow to heat through.
- Turn off the heat, and set aside, keeping covered.
- FOR THE ASPARAGUS:
- Place the cuts of asparagus in a glass bowl along with 2 tablespoons water.
- Microwave on high for two minutes.
- If not using immediately, run under cold water to halt the cooking, drain and allow to sit at room temperature until ready to assemble.
- FOR THE FILET:
- Using an iron skillet (or any other heavy bottom skillet), over medium-high heat, make sure the pan is very hot (about 4 minutes on the heat before adding the butter or oil).
- Pat the filet dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Add the butter (or oil) to the hot skillet.
- Place the filet in the pan and do not move it. Cook for 3 minutes.
- Turn the filet and continue to cook for 3 minutes (for medium rare).
- Remove from the pan to a plate.
- Add the warmed crab meat to the top of the filet.
- Add the asparagus to the top of the filet.
- Spoon on Béarnaise Sauce.
- Serve immediately.