After working in the restaurant business for many years, my wife and gave up on going out to dinner on any holiday. I was always working. And when I finally got out of the business, I realized that special occasions are some of my least favorite times to eat out. Menus are often limited, prices get jacked up and I’m just not that nuts about waiting in line, especially if there’s a buffet involved. We’d much rather have a nice meal at home and celebrate without the inconvenience of holiday dining.
Here’s a favorite recipe that is simple to prepare and has a special occasion appeal. It’s probably a good time to break out the good placemats, napkins and silverware…and a good bottle of wine. I’ve also made the same dish with crab and shrimp, depending on what’s in season and looks the best at the store. I’m calling this one “Lobster Minnesota” because, well, I happen to like Minnesota and I know Minnesotans like their venison, especially if you put some lobster on top. Béarnaise sauce can be intimidating unless you follow this fool-proof blender recipe. No double boiler or constant whisking required. Just follow the directions and you will have perfect sauce in less than a minute. Keep in mind that, when reheating, the béarnaise sauce needs to be warmed gently or it will break and you’ll have to start over.
- 2 6- ounce venison loin medallions
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 8 ounces lobster meat not cooked
- 1/4 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 bundle Asparagus ends trimmed
- Blender Béarnaise
- 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves minced
- 2 tablespoons shallots minced
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons dry white wine
- 3 egg yolks
- 2/3 stick butter
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Season venison liberally with salt and pepper. It can be grilled, broiled or pan-seared, but preferably not past medium-rare. Once done, allow to rest for a few minutes before placing on plates.
- In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add lobster meat and sauté until just cooked. Avoid overcooking or lobster will be rubbery. When properly cooked, it is moist and tender.
- To prepare Béarnaise, place tarragon, shallots, white wine vinegar, white wine and egg yolks in a blender and pulse to process. Place butter in a microwave-safe container (like a glass measuring cup) and heat on high for 1 minute. it should be hot and bubbly. Watch while microwaving to make sure that the butter doesn’t get too hot and boil over the container. While the blender motor is running, add a little of the hot butter in a very thin stream. This will “set” the yolks and the sauce won’t turn into scrambled eggs. Continue to process while adding the rest of the hot butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. As the sauce cools, it will thicken. If you need to add heat to it before serving, transfer the sauce to a small saucepan over low heat and gradually heat it while whisking. If it gets too hot, it will break.
- Steam the asparagus bundle, trimming the ends before cooking. Add butter and sea salt to taste.
- Place one of the venison medallions on each plate, top with béarnaise sauce and warm lobster. Place asparagus spears around venison, as in the photo.