Recipes: Filets on the Grill

I have been waiting for this menu.  I have to be honest, I love grilled meat and although LadyFingers Diane and I have made other meals featuring grilled meat, this one is my absolute favorite.  Reason 1: filet mignon.  Do I need to say anything else?  Probably not.
When I make these monthly recipe posts courtesy of LadyFingers Private Chef and Catering I typically say we had a terrific time and all that, but here’s the food! and go on to the recipes.  Allow me to dwell for a bit on the terrific time part.
If you’re not participating in the monthly contest to win a seat for yourself and a guest, you are truly missing out.  I mean it.  We get a fair number of entries a month, but I know more of you could participate and you’d be happy if you did.  We have the best time together!  We ask our guests to come while the meal is still cooking because the cooking is part of the fun.  Diane and I (but let’s be honest, it’s mostly the chef doing the cooking.  I’m merely a backup singer.) share tips and hints about technique, we talk about food and flavors, and we are never short on laughs.  Our husbands, Jim and Dude, are always around somewhere having a couple of beers and the conversation never drags.  Once we sit around the table and eat it’s just such a good time that I wish we could have each and every one of you join us.
This month’s winner was Matt B. and he brought his lovely wife, Rachel.  (Matt is the famous Coach Matt from this post.)  The weather was so beautiful that instead of sitting in the dining room, we ate outside on the patio.  Three courses culminating in grilled fillets – it couldn’t have made for a better evening.

(Coach Matt, my Dude, and the super lovely Rachel)

The correct answer to this month’s trivia question was almond flour, egg wash, and ground nuts (cashews and macadamia nuts specifically).  Congratulations to Kelly F. whose name was drawn from record number of correct responses!  Kelly and a guest will join us in October as we are hosting a couple of special guests in September.  Stay tuned for more details on that.
So yes! We had a blast this past Sunday – as usual!  Food and friendship go together better than anything.  Let’s get to the food and see why this month was especially delicious.
Macadamia and Cashew-Crusted Chicken Bites – serves 6-8
2 plump chicken breasts
½ cup macadamia nuts
½ cup cashews
1 cup almond flour, divided
1 egg
¼ cup water
Preheat oven to 400 degrees (or 375 degrees for convection)
Cover a medium baking sheet with non-stick foil.
Cut chicken breasts into generous cubes (1 ½-inch or two-bites).
Place macadamia nuts, cashew nuts and ¼ cup almond flour into a food processor.  Process until nuts are coarsely ground (note – you must use the flour as it keeps the oily nuts from becoming pasty).
Set up three dipping bowls for coating your chicken starting with a shallow bowl containing ¾ cup almond flour.
Beat 1 egg with ¼ cup water and place into a second shallow dipping bowl.
Place your ground nut mixture into a third shallow dipping bowl.

Thoroughly coat each chicken cube with almond flour, dip each cube into the egg wash, and finish by coating each cube with nut mixture, pressing the nuts onto the chicken cubes with your fingers as necessary.
Place the coated chicken cubes onto the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes.  Gently turn cubes, taking care not to disturb nut coating and bake for another 5 minutes or until cubes are hot and nut coating is nicely browned.
Remove from baking sheet and serve with Mango Dipping Sauce (see below).

Mango Dipping Sauce – serves 6
1 fresh mango
1 orange, juiced
1 tablespoon honey
dash cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
Peel mango and slice flesh away from the pit.  Place mango into a blender.
Add fresh orange juice, honey and cayenne to blender.
Puree mixture for 1 minute or until smooth.
Taste and add additional cayenne if desired.
Serve with Macadamia and Cashew-Crusted Chicken Bites.
Asparagus Green Curry Soup – serves 6
1 bunch fresh asparagus
2 medium leeks
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon green curry paste
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
Roughly chop asparagus, discarding woody ends.  Clean and roughly chop leeks, white and pale green parts only.

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot.  Add chopped asparagus and leeks and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add red pepper flakes to pot and stir to combine.
Add green curry paste to the pot and stir to combine.  Heat for 1 minute or until fragrant
Add stock to the pot and stir to combine.  Heat over medium-high heat until soup reaches a boil.  Reduce heat, cover pot and simmer for 15 minutes or until asparagus is quite tender.
Using an immersion blender, blend until soup is pureed.

Add coconut milk, fresh lime juice and blend again.
Add salt and pepper, to taste.
Let soup cool slightly and then place in refrigerator until well chilled (or may be heated – you decide!).
Garnish with a pinch of paprika and serve.

Grilled Filet Mignon with Balsamic-Roasted Tomatoes – serves 6
6 beef filet steaks
olive oil for coating
60 cherry tomatoes, preferably mixed colors
½ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Preheat grill to High.
Remove steaks from refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Rinse and dry cherry tomatoes.  Place tomatoes in Dutch oven or heavy roasting pan.

Combine balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper and whisk to blend.  Pour balsamic mixture over tomatoes.
Place tomatoes in oven, uncovered, and roast for twenty minutes or until just bursting.
While tomatoes roast, coat filets with olive oil and take to grill.

Turn the grill to low and place steaks on grill.  Close grill lid and cook for 5-7 minutes, depending on thickness and desired doneness.
Open grill lid, turn steaks and close grill lid again.  Cook for an additional 4-6 minures, again depending on thickness and desired doneness.
Remove steaks from grill to plates and serve with Balsamic Roasted Tomatoes.

Didn’t I say that this was the menu to top all menus?  Well, at least until next month….
As usual, many thanks to Diane of LadyFingers Private Chef and Catering for the use of her kitchen, garden, and home.  Here are printable versions of this month’s recipes.  Please enjoy!
Macadamia and Cashew-Crusted Chicken Bites
Mango Dipping Sauce
Asparagus Green Curry Soup
Grilled Filet Mignon with Balsamic-Roasted Tomatoes

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