Greek Beef Tenderloin in Togas with Mediterranean Orzo and Greek Salad
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided, plus some for drizzling
- 6 beef tenderloin medallions, at room temperature (4-6 ounces each, no more than 1 1/2-inches thick)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 small-medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
- 1 pound spinach, woody stems removed, chopped
- Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
- 3/4 cup feta cheese crumbles
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 package store-bought phyllo dough (minimum of 24 sheets)
- 1/2 stick butter, melted
- 1/2 pound orzo
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped (a couple of handfuls)
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1 English (seedless) cucumber, cut into quarters lengthwise, then into bite-size pieces
- 3 plum tomatoes, chopped into bite-size pieces
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped into bite-size pieces
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped
- 5-6 pepperoncini peppers, drained and roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Pre-heat the oven to 425ºF.
Place a pot of water over high heat and bring it to a boil for the pasta.
Place a large, stainless steel skillet over high heat. Drizzle the EVOO sparingly over the room temperature beef medallions and season them with salt and pepper. Sear them in the pan until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes for the tops and bottoms plus another minute for the sides. Reserve the seared meat on a plate and place the skillet back on the heat.
Reduce the pan heat a bit. Give the skillet a turn of the pan with EVOO, about 1 tablespoon, then add in the onion and garlic. Cook the onion until tender, 5-6 minutes, then add in the spinach. Toss the spinach with a pair of tongs until it wilts down, 3 minutes, then season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Remove the greens from the heat and reserve.
In food processor, combine the feta cheese, milk and the oregano and give it a zap to puree smooth. Reserve the mixture.
Lay down a sheet of phyllo dough, dot it with melted butter and lay another sheet of phyllo on top of the first one, rotated a little on either side. The corners should not line up. Each toga wrap should start out resembling a star pattern, layering multiple sheets, each askew from the last, using four layers per toga.
When the meat is back to room temperature and you can handle it, place the beef medallions on the phyllo togas. Top with generous spoonfuls of the cheese mixture, followed by the spinach. Brush the very edges of the phyllo dough with melted butter, then gather them up and wrap the dough sheets around the meat, pinching them together at the center. Transfer the toga-wrapped beef medallions to a baking sheet, then pop them into the oven and bake them until the dough is golden brown, 12-15 minutes.
While the togas are baking, salt the boiling water, then drop in your orzo and cook it to al dente.
Return the skillet you cooked the greens in to the stove over medium-high heat with one turn of the pan of EVOO, about 1 tablespoon. Toss the scallions into the pan and cook them until tender, 2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat. Drain the pasta and toss it in with the scallions. Add the parsley, juice and zest of 1 lemon and pine nuts to the pan and give it a good mix.
To a mixing bowl, add the cucumber, tomatoes, green pepper, red onion, olives and pepperoncini. Toss with red wine vinegar and 3 tablespoons of EVOO, then season with salt and pepper.
Serve the toga-wrapped beef medallions with a side of orzo and top the warm pasta with a scoop of cold, bright salad.