Updated: Apr 12, 2020
We are starting off our cooking challenge with the Five-spice Beef with Onion and Orange and Fennel Sauce from the Eataly: Italian Contemporary Cooking cookbook. Having never paired orange with beef before (and absolutely nothing with fennel), we were very intrigued by the flavor combination.
First and foremost we mixed the beef with a marinade and let it sit in the fridge for about two hours. The recipe quoted a forty minute prep and cooking time but, having to research some chopping and cooking methods, it took us just over an hour. We really wanted to take our time to make sure everything came out right.
There is no blender in this apartment so we used a food processor to blend the fennel, scallion, and orange zest. We also made a light dressing that would be used to drizzle over the dish once everything was complete. Compared to how we usually cook, this recipe required a lot more cookware which meant more cleaning...
Paul always complained about the knives we had because when we first moved in I ordered the cheapest set from Groupon... I have now learned that knives make a huge difference when cutting anything in your kitchen. We decided to invest in a new set from of Chef's knives from Kamikoto and a knife block set from Zwilling. There is no question this one recipe has proven their worth!
After following all of the instructions, the base we made looked a lot different than the one in the recipe book. The color was more green and a bit more textured. It was, however, still delicious! The flavor of the onion, orange, and dressing was an incredible complement to the beef tenderloin. We were extremely impressed and happy to have chosen this unique recipe for our first from the book.
The wine we chose to pair with this dish was a 2008 Sunday Bay Pinot Noir from our monthly subscription at Vinovations. This exciting, medium-bodied New Zealand wine is dry and acidic. It's flavor hints of cherry, raspberry, and strawberry paired well with the beef tenderloin and citrus flavors in the dish.