Let's bring spring to the table now that it has officially arrived on the calendar. Here's a simple cold luncheon menu that celebrates a fresh season.
SPRING LUNCH FOR 10 Cold Roast Fillet of Beef Carrot and Spinach Terrine Breton Butter Cake Macerated Fresh Strawberries or Orange Slices Suggested wine: Champagne COLD ROAST FILLET
1 (4- to 5-pound) whole beef fillet, trimmed and tied
1 tablespoon oil
Carrot and Spinach Terrine
Roast Garlic Mayonnaise
Season fillet to taste with salt and pepper. Heat oil in roasting pan and brown fillet thoroughly on all sides, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Roast fillet at 500 degrees 20 to 30 minutes, turning every 8 to 10 minutes. Cooking time depends on thickness of meat, not on weight. Meat thermometer should register 125 degrees for rare, 140 degrees for medium.
Allow beef to cool, then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 6 hours or up to 2 days.
Shortly before serving, discard strings, carve beef in thick or thin slices and arrange overlapping on individual plates with Carrot and Spinach Terrine. Serve with Roast Garlic Mayonnaise. Makes 10 servings.
Carrot and Spinach
1 pound carrots, sliced
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 pounds spinach, cooked, well drained and finely chopped, or 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
4 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Grated peel of 1/2 lemon
Butter 1 1/2-quart terrine mold or loaf pan.
Place carrots in saucepan of cold salted water, cover and boil until very tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain and puree in food processor or food mill. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in saucepan. Add carrot puree and cook several minutes, stirring, to dry mixture out as much as possible. Cool.
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons butter in another saucepan. Add spinach, green onions and parsley. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, to evaporate as much water as possible. Cool.
Beat eggs, cream, salt and pepper to taste and nutmeg in bowl. Stir 1/2 of mixture into pureed carrots along with ginger. Add remaining egg mixture to spinach along with lemon peel. Puree spinach mixture in blender or food processor. Taste both carrot and spinach mixtures to adjust for seasonings.
Spread spinach mixture in even layer in prepared terrine or loaf pan. Top with carrot mixture, spreading in even layer. Cover with buttered foil.
Place terrine or loaf pan in larger roasting pan and add hot water to halfway up outside of terrine or loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees 35 to 45 minutes, until firm or skewer inserted in center comes out clean. Remove and let cool before refrigerating. Terrine may be refrigerated up to 2 days.
Cut terrine in slices. Makes 10 servings.
Note: For white instead of orange layer, substitute turnips for carrots.
Roast Garlic Mayonnaise
20 cloves garlic
2 cups oil
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Toss garlic cloves with 1 tablespoon oil in small baking pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Roast at 375 degrees 15 to 20 minutes or until garlic is tender.
Place garlic in food processor or blender with egg yolks, mustard, vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Puree until very smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. With machine running, add remaining oil 1 teaspoon at time until 2 to 3 tablespoons have been added and mayonnaise starts to thicken. If oil is added too quickly, mayonnaise will curdle.
Add remaining oil more quickly, in slow steady stream. Taste mayonnaise to adjust for seasonings. Mayonnaise may be refrigerated up to 2 days. Makes 10 servings.
Note: To peel garlic cloves easily, crush slightly with flat side of knife blade to loosen skin.
BRETON BUTTER CAKE
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
10 egg yolks
1 teaspoon water
Butter 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom.
Sift flour onto work surface. Make large well in center. Cut butter in small pieces and add to well with sugar and 9 lightly beaten egg yolks. Work ingredients together with fingertips until smooth. Gradually draw in flour, using fingers, then work dough with heel of hand until smooth. Dough will be sticky and must be mixed with help of pastry scraper or metal spatula.
Spread mixture in pan and smooth top, flouring hand to prevent sticking. Combine remaining egg yolk with water and brush over cake surface. Mark surface in lattice design using tines of fork.
Bake at 375 degrees 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking 30 to 35 minutes, until cake is golden and firm to touch. Let cake cool in pan, then unmold carefully. Cake can be stored up to 2 weeks in airtight container. Makes 10 servings.
Note: Unsalted butter is recommended.