Episode 301: Much at Steak

Bacon-Wrapped Albacore “Filet Mignons” with Peppercorn Cream Sauce

Bacon-Wrapped Albacore “Filet Mignons” with Peppercorn Cream Sauce

A filet mignon of the sea: A steak that doesn’t actually come from a cow—it comes from a fish.

When fish is fresh you want to keep the seasonings simple with salt, freshly ground pepper, lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil. The albacore loins are wrapped in bacon before a quick sear on the plancha then directly grilled over a wood fire for a smoky flavor.

Served with a Peppercorn Cream Sauce that is a riff on the classic French Béarnaise sauce.


More Grilled Fish Recipes:



Bacon-Wrapped Albacore “Filet Mignons” with Peppercorn Cream Sauce

Recipe Notes

  • Yield: Serves 8 and can be scaled up
  • Equipment: Butcher’s string; plancha or griddle (optional)


For the Peppercorn Cream Sauce:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 large shallots, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup Cognac
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • Coarse salt (sea or kosher)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped, plus extra sprigs for garnish
  • 1/2 lemon

For the tuna:

  • 2 trimmed sushi-quality albacore tuna loins, each about 1-1/2 pounds
  • Coarse salt (sea or kosher)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 to 8 strips thin-cut artisanal bacon

Recipe Steps

Step 1: Make the Peppercorn Cream Sauce: In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the shallots and sauté until soft. Add the black pepper and Cognac. If desired, carefully flambé the warm Cognac with a long match. Otherwise, continue with the sauce. Add the white wine and bring to a boil; reduce by half. Stir in the cream and mustard and let the sauce simmer until it coats the back of a spoon. Add salt to taste. Stir in the chopped fresh tarragon and squeeze in a few drops of fresh lime juice. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Step 2: Working on a rimmed baking sheet or baking dish, season the tuna loins well on all sides with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil.

Step 3: For each loin, cut 4 lengths of butcher’s string, each about 12 inches long, and lay them parallel to each other (about 1-1/2 to 2 inches apart) on a clean work surface. Place a strip of bacon in the center, perpendicular to the strings. Lay a tuna loin on the bacon. Lay 2 more strips of bacon on top of the tuna (3 if it’s a large loin), bring the strings snugly over the loin, and tie so that the bacon is held firmly in place. Repeat with the other loin.

Step 4: Set up your grill for direct grilling and preheat to medium-high (400 degrees). If using a plancha or griddle, preheat it at the same time. Brush and oil the grill grate and/or plancha.

Step 5: Arrange the tuna loins on the plancha or grill grate and grill until the bacon and tuna are seared, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn with tongs to sear the remaining sides. The interior of the tuna should retain its rosy color; do not overcook. Transfer the tuna loins to a cutting board. Reheat the Peppercorn Cream Sauce, if necessary. Remove the strings from the tuna, then slice the loins into 1-inch-thick medallions and arrange on a platter. Spoon the sauce around the bottom of the medallions, garnish with fresh tarragon sprigs, and serve.

Recipe Tips

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Steven Raichlen’s Project Smoke is a production of Maryland Public Television, Barbacoa, Inc., and Resolution Pictures. © 2017 Barbacoa, Inc.