Mad Men Inspired Ramped Up Beef Wellington with an Iceberg Wedge Salad
Our take on our favorite Christmas Dinner Dish -- Beef Wellington! Originally posted on the ol' Sunday Nite Supper Blog, 12. 04. 2015
All photos by Michelle Kinney
For anyone who didn’t read our post from a few days ago, we’re back and cookin’! So let’s not waste anymore time!
Lots of things are happening right now that we’re in love with.
But most importantly:
1. Mad Men
So why not celebrate both? Starting this week we are going to cook some our favorite dishes of the 1960s to honor the final half season of Mad Men.
When I say that Joe and I are Mad Men fans, that would be an understatement.
On Friday evening we attended a Mad Men Antique Cocktail Party at The Players Club in New York City. Prohibition Productions purchased 50 year old liquor from the set of Mad Men. Yes you read that correctly. Joe and I had Old Fashioneds made with 50 year old liquor from the Mad Men set. It was a big enough event that the New York Times featured the party in “5 Ways to Time-Travel (and Party) in New York”
On Saturday we woke up pretty tired. We knew we had to start planning for the blog right away. 1960s inspired dishes featured on Mad Men! But there are so many! We decided to go with Beef Wellington because I’ve made it a dozen times for friends and family. And the Iceberg Wedge Salad adorned with homemade blue cheese dressing, crispy bacon, and diced heirloom tomatoes seemed too good to pass up! Beef Wellington and Iceberg Wedges are ordered pretty often on Mad Men. But when I rewatched “Signal 30” recently, I knew we had to honor the adorable Trudy Campbell (actress Alison Brie) who cooks Beef Wellington for the delightful Sterling Cooper dinner Party in Cos Cob. (Photo from Tom and Lorenzo). (P.S. Joe loves Trudy!)
Old-school butchers are a rarity in New York, but our favorite butcher moved from West 87th Street to their new location on West 102nd Street and we are THRILLED! Quality meats with quality service. They’ve been doing business since 1911! Thank about it, that’s PT (Pre-Titanic) . . . and obviously pre-Mad Men too.
Needless to say, we bought the fillet of beef we needed for the Wellington at Schatzie, and we will continue to do so!
After I picked up our fillet of beef from Schatzie, I popped over to Westside Market for the rest of my ingredients. And then I saw them. The golden nuggets for springtime foodies!
Ramps are delicious wild onions that grow in the springtime and only appear in our markets for a month or so. They’re kind of like an onion, kind of like a leek, and kind of like garlic. Yet not really like any of them because they’re ramps and they’re DELISH. They smell amazing too. At $1.89 a bunch, I bought FIVE! (Joe reading this said “Five!?!?” and shook his head) Sorry Upper West Side shoppers! You snooze, you lose!
I quickly decided that I would puree the ramp bulbs into the Wellington duxelle. (That’s the mushroom mixture layered in the Wellington…we’ll get there.) YUM. And then I figure I’ll just sautee another bunch in salt, pepper, and olive oil for a vegetable side. Because, when in Rome – make some ramps.
Make sure to wash your produce! I used Honest Company’s Fruit and Veggie Wash. It works wonders.
Here’s what you’ll need for Ramped Up Beef Wellington :
Buy Organic when you can!
(serves 2-3 hungry people)
- Approx 1.5 lbs center cut fillet of beef (I just tell the butcher I’m cooking for 3!)
- Olive oil
- Colemans’s Mustard
- Fresh thyme
- Fresh chives
- 12 button mushrooms
- 3 fresh garlic cloves
- One bunch ramps (bulbs only)
- Frozen puff pastry (I legititmately do not have the time or patience to make my PP. I find Pepperidge Farm works fine! One of the few non-homemade items)
- Egg yolk (For the egg wash)
- Kosher Salt, Fresh cracked pepper
- Plastic Wrap
- Parchment Paper
Preheat oven to 425 Degrees F
1. The Duxelle. (aka, mushroom mixture, mushroom paté)
Pureé mushrooms (caps only, remove the stems), garlic, ramp bulbs, dashes salt and pepper into food processor.
Pour the duxelle into a hot, DRY pan. Add a few fresh thyme leaves as well! No oil, butter, or ANYTHING. Only the duxelle mixture should go into the pan. Important. This step is crucial to evaporating the liquid from the mushrooms.
Remove the duxelle from the pan and place onto a small plate. Place in the refridgerator to cool.
2. The Beef
Before you do anything, dry your beef with some paper towels. This will help when browning the beef.
Season the beef with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.
Pour about 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a hot skillet. Using tongs, sear the fillet on all sides. Be careful of the hot oil!
Remove the seared fillet from the skillet and immediately apply a thin layer of Coleman’s English mustard.
So hot, spicy, and yummy. If you can’t find English mustard at your local market, horseradish works as well! Horseradish provides the same type of heat.
Allow the beef to cool down for about 10 minutes.
3. Assemble the Wellington
First, spread out a large piece of plastic wrap on a flat surface. If you can find the extra wide/restaurant sized wrap-awesome. For the rest of us, double up. It’s a big of a pain, but crucial that you have enough plastic to roll the Wellington.
Create a square layer of prosciutto on the plastic wrap. I used WAY too much proscuitto in this photo. Entirely too wide. I’m used to making Beef Wellington for more than 2-3 people so my brain went crazy. Alas, we are using a smaller piece of meat. So just layer enough proscuitto to cover your piece of beef.
Snag the cooled duxelle from your fridge and begin to spoon it onto the proscuitto. I use the back of the spoon to make sure I don’t tear the proscuitto. Seriously, proscuitto! Why you gotta be so delicate?! Again, we’re creating another layer. So just enough to cover your fillet.
P.S. MY KITCHEN IS SO SMALL. Honestly, the amount of counter space is stressful to even look at in this photo! Directly behind me is a wall. Ah.. Manhattan living.
Next, place your mustarded up beef on top of the layered duxelle and prosciutto. Be sure to snip off any butcher’s twine!
Using the plastic wrap, carefully roll the prosciutto over the beef. We’re creating a cylinder so-to-speak.
Once the meat and duxelle are rolled up in the plastic wrap, twist the ends to create the shape. The extra prosciutto was trimmed off and definitely, totally, not eaten immediately.
Pop this baby in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm up its shape! Don’t leave it in there any longer than 15 minutes!
Repeat the same plastic wrap/proscuitto step with the puff pastry. I usually buy the frozen puff pastry and leave it in the fridge for a few hours. You want it firm and cold, but not frozen. You also don’t want it too warm and pliable as it will likely stick to the plastic wrap. That’s happened to me before and it’s no fun!!
Create another cylinder with the plastic wrap and refridgerate for 15 minutes to once again firm up its shape. (We totally forgot to take a photo of this step! Our bad.)
Unwrap the chilled Wellington awesomeness. Line a baking tray with parchement paper and place the assembled Wellington right in the middle.
In a small bowl, whisk 1 egg yolk with a dash of water. Voila, egg wash. So easy, Joe could do it . . . and he did.
Brush the Wellington with the egg wash and lightly sprinkle with kosher salt. This step will make sure the outer layer is crispy when it comes out of the oven.
For fun, I run the back of the knife over the top of the pastry to make a fun cheffy design. Not a requirement, but I think it looks fancy.
Place the Beef Wellington in a 425 Degree oven for about 30 minutes.
While the Beef Wellington is cooking, I assembled the Iceberg Wedge!
- 1 head Organic Iceberg Lettuce (I didn’t know there was such a thing!)
- 1 package uncured Organic Bacon (I cook mine by baking on a tray in the oven. Less mess.)
- Diced heirloom tomatoes
- Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing
(I will share my Blue Cheese Dressing recipe with you later on. It’s to die for! 100% from scratch and made with my own homemade mayo as well.)
Cut the washed iceberg lettuce into wedges. Top with blue cheese dressing, crumbled bacon, chives, and diced tomatoes.
Easy and DELISH.
Back to the Beef Wellington. At the 30 minute mark, place a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. A medium-rare Beef Wellington should read 135 Degrees F. We measured the temperature of the beef at 30 minutes and it needed a bit more time to cook. No big deal! Around 40-45 minutes she was ready. Take the Beef Wellington out of the oven. Let it rest for about 15-20 minutes. Keep in mind the internal temperature of the beef will rise about 5 degrees during this time as well!
It will look like an adorable little loaf of bread.
Using a sharp knife, slice up the Beef Wellington.
Big or small, it’s up to you. Mmmm…. yum!
Joe’s parents got us an AMAZING Engagement gift. Rhineland Knives. They are as glorious as they look.
I served the Beef Wellington slices with sauteed ramps (quickly sauteed in salt, pepper, and olive oil) and the Iceberg Wedge on a separate plate.
And there you have it! Ramped up Beef Wellington with Iceberg Wedge Salad!
Small Bites By Joe
Before I get to the fantastic meal, I just want you all to know how much work goes into Beef Wellington. You see how many steps Michelle completed? It came out amazing as usual. Reading how many steps it takes (and helping with some of them), I realize how hard it is to cook a meal that well and then take great photos of it. I appreciate it so much. So, thank you Michelle.
Now, the meal. First, the blue cheese dressing was delicious. As we were making it, we gave it a taste. The first taste was good, but it felt like it needed just a little more…something. We threw in more blue cheese and viola, delectable. I said to Michelle, well it is blue cheese dressing, might as well add more blue cheese. The bacon on top added some extra crunch. As we all know, put bacon on it and it tastes better. (Except for dessert, I do not like bacon in my dessert. I never fell for that fad. Thoughts?)
The Wellington. The delicious. The indulgence. Michelle’s Beef Wellington is my favorite meal. The fillet was a perfect medium rare. Is there any other way to eat a fillet? No. It melts in your mouth. Not in your hands. The mushroom duxelle provides an earthiness that matches perfectly with the saltiness of the proscuitto. Combine that with the heat and spice from the Coleman’s mustard, along with the puff pastry and it’s a masterpiece dinner. I know some Beef Wellington recipes call for a crepe to surround the beef fillet as well, but I just do not see it adding the right balance that’s captured in what Michelle cooks.
One other note about the beef fillet. As Michelle mentioned our favorite butcher, Schatzie, has just moved to our neighborhood. Previously located on 87th and Amsterdam, the Upper West Side family institution has relocated to West 102 and Broadway. Michelle and I could not be more excited. And Schatzie is opening a burger joint too! The burgers will be made to order! Great meat and great cooking! Did I mention that Michelle and I are excited?
I’ll part with some wisdom from Mad Men’s Roger Sterling who said in Season 1, Episode 6 (“Babylon”) “Look, we’ve got Oysters Rockefeller! Beef Wellington! Napoleons! We leave this lunch alone, it’ll take over Europe.” Too good.
All photos by Michelle Kinney