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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

fillet steak Rossini

Fillet steak Rossini style was purported to be invented by the great French chef Auguste Escoffier for the Italian composer, Gioachino Rossini in the 1800s. This dish comprised; tournedos of beef fillet cooked in melted butter, topped with foie gras and garnished with black truffles. The meat was served on a warm crouton and accompanied by Madeira demi-glace sauce and scatterings of finely chopped chervil. One can only imagine the taste and flavour imparted by these heavenly ingredients.

So, what's the Italian version for this very same man? Well, it has to include three other great Italians: prosciutto, parmesan and marsala.

There is one essential trick in getting this recipe right. It's making sure the steak is tied together firmly and evenly and time allowed for the 'setting' stage in the refrigerator for thirty minutes plus before cutting and cooking.

The other obvious change is fillet steak Rossini in Italy is stuffed while the French version is topped.

Ingredients to serve 4:

1x 800g eye fillet
2 x 200g packets of prosciutto
500g fresh parmesan cheese, cubed or very roughly chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
string or stretchy gauze
4 tablespoons brandy
4 tablespoons Marsala
150ml beef stock
150ml cream
salt and ground black pepper to taste
Chervil to garnish
Go-Between or baking paper for rolling steak


Slice the fillet lengthways down the centre but do not cut all the way though. Bend the meat out and lay it between two pieces of Go-Between or baking paper.

Using a meat hammer or heavy rolling pin or wine bottle to flatten out the meat so it is all the same thickness.

Line the whole, flattened fillet with prosciutto, line again with chopped parmesan and another layer of prosciutto. Season.

Carefully roll the fillet and secure tightly with string at 4 – 6 intervals. I used stretchy gauze my butcher gave me simply because it's a safer bet to hold the roll together (see photo). But I do have reservations about using gauze; it marks the finished meat and is almost impossible to remove before serving. If you can use string successfully you will get a better visual result.

Wrap the rolled, tied meat in cling film and place in the fridge to 'set' for at least thirty minutes. This firms up the meat and helps to keep the stuffing intact. Remove the meat from the fridge, remove the cling film and cut it into four steaks. Try to cut the steaks so each piece of string is centred in each steak.

Heat the butter and oil on a moderate heat in a medium size frying pan and cook the steaks to your liking. The length of time depends on how thick you have cut your steaks and how you like them cooked. Personally I prefer steak medium rare, this will give enough time for the parmesan to soften and melt and the prosciutto will be warmed through. When the steak is ready flash with the brandy and set alight. After the flames die down remove the steaks to rest and keep them warm. Remove the string.

Turn the heat up on the pan and add the Marsala, cook out the alcohol, scrapping up the residue in the process and reduce to a scant amount. Add the beef stock and cook for ten minutes or until reduced by half. Add the cream, cook a little longer on a low heat. Strain the sauce, check seasoning.

Pour a little sauce into a circle on each plate and place the steaks on top. Scatter over the chervil and serve immediately.

Note 1: Go-Between is made of food-safe polyethylene and is pre-cut for freezing, it separates individual freezer portions but also makes an ideal non-stick rolling aid for pastry or meat. Use two sheets of baking paper if Go-Between is unavailable.

Note 2: I use 1-2 tablespoons of the product; Bowles Veal Glace which I add to this sauce before the cream stage. This product is sensational and gives a wonderful sheen and flavour to any brown sauce when you don't have the time to make your own demi-glace.

Fillet steak Rossini printer friendly version, click here:


  1. Hi, just wanted to know if you use bowles veal glace (some of which I've just bought) instead of the beef stock or do you use both.

    Thanks Kathy

  2. Hi Kathy,

    Adding 1 - 2 tablespoons of Bowles is a great idea. I would still use the beef stock but by adding the glacé you will achieve a much thicker and flavoursome sauce with lots of shine. It's a brilliant product. Thanks for your interest. Cheryl