This exquisite dish lends its name from Italian composer Gioachino Rossini who lived in Paris for two long periods in his life.
It is not only exquisite but also extravagant as it combines three nobel and expensive ingredients — beef filet, foie gras and truffle.
A tournedos is a fine piece of beef fillet. “Tournedos” means “turn the back” and even this appellation has been ascribed to Rossini as the chef had to make the dish in front of the composer, turning his back to the other guests. I personally think it has to do with the short searing of the meat — you bake it briefly on one side and then turn it on its back.
Whatever its origin, and despite being a classic, it is rather “bling bling” for its costs.
But in this festive season I had some home-made foie gras de canard, I had a left over half of a truffle and I had some cuts left of a “poire” filet from the local butcher and from a Charolais cow that grazed just a few km from our house (as did the ducks that lived in a nearby village).
I also had some fond de veau left from other preparations.
Many of the classic recipes call for Madeira wine, and toasted bread to put the meat on. I left that out.
I pre-heated the oven at 110 ° C, melted butter in a skillet and briefly seared the meat on the sides.
Then I transferred it to a warm dish and added a slice of duck liver and topped this with some slices of black truffle.
I poured a spoonful of fond de veau over it and put the plate in the oven for a few minutes.
This allowed the liver to soften a bit and let the truffle develop its aroma.
I served with a twist of pepper.
In the classical recipes, the foie is softened in another skillet. This takes skill (perhaps that is why it is called a skillet) as the foie may become too soft to handle.
The bread base can absorb the (greasy) juices.