Morton's Restaurant Group, Inc. owns and operates Morton's of Chicago, a high-end steakhouse restaurant chain aimed at a business clientele, and Bertolini's Authentic Trattorias, a smaller chain offering Italian specialties in a casual dining atmosphere. At the end of 1998 Morton's Restaurant Group owned and operated 43 Morton's of Chicago and 12 Bertolini's units. All Morton's of Chicago restaurants were similar in style, concept, and decor, and were located in retail, hotel, commercial, and office building complexes in major metropolitan areas and urban centers. Catering primarily to business-oriented clients, Morton's of Chicago had an average per person check of about $65 in 1998. The Bertolini's restaurants offered white tablecloth service, with an average per person check of about $20. Morton's Restaurant Group also held a minority of stock in two other restaurant chains, Mick's and Peasant.




Beef Filet Oskar

Morton's Steakhouse Copycat Recipe

Serves 6

6 (8-9-oz.)  filets mignons, each about 2 inches thick
vegetable oil cooking spray
seasoned salt
12 slices very thin white bread
12 large asparagus spears
12 ounces fresh lump crab meat (2 loosely packed cups)
2 1/4 cups Bearnaise Sauce (recipe follows), warmed

Bearnaise Sauce:
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dry white wine
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon chopped shallots
2 cups Hollandaise Sauce (recipe follows)

Hollandaise Sauce:
5 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups clarified butter
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
dash of Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

Steaks:  Remove the steaks from the refrigerator and let them rest at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill or preheat the broiler and position a rack 4 inches from the heating element. Lightly spray the grill rack with vegetable oil cooking spray. The coals should be medium-hot for the charcoal grill. The burners should be on high for the gas grill. Season the filets lightly on both sides with the seasoned salt.

Lay the bread slices on a work surface. Using a  3-inch-wide round cookie cutter or water glass, cut out 12 rounds. Transfer the rounds to a baking sheet. Bake, turning once, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the croutons are light golden brown and crisp. Watch them carefully; they brown quickly around the edges. Cool on wire racks. Lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees.

In a large skillet filled about halfway with boiling water and set over medium-high heat, blanch the asparagus spears for 2 to 3 minutes, or until fork-tender. Cut each asparagus spear in half crosswise and then split each half lengthwise. Lay the split spears in a single layer around the perimeter of an 11 x 17-inch baking pan. Place the crab meat in the center of the pan. Heat the asparagus and crab meat in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until heated through. Remove from the oven and cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, if using a charcoal grill, grill the steaks for about 5 minutes. Turn, using tongs, and grill the other side for about 5 minutes for medium-rare, or until the desired degree of doneness. If using a gas grill, grill for about 5 minutes. Turn, using tongs, and grill the other side for about 5 minutes for medium-rare, or until the desired degree of doneness. If using the broiler, broil 4 inches from the heat source for 8 minutes. Turn, using tongs, and broil the other side for 7 to 8 minutes for medium rare, or until the desired degree of doneness.

To Serve:  Cut each filet in half against the grain and put each portion, cut side up, on a crouton. Put two croutons on each serving plate. Put four asparagus pieces (two with tips) on top of each filet half to form a squared crosshatch design. Divide the crab evenly among the plates, resting it on the asparagus. Spoon Bearnaise Sauce over each serving and pass any extra sauce on the side.

Hollandaise Sauce:  Hollandaise is a lovely, rich, slightly tangy sauce that complements beef as well as vegetables such as asparagus and artichokes. Makes about 2 cups

In the bottom half of a double boiler, bring about 2 inches of water to a boil over high heat. The water should not touch the bottom of the top portion of the double boiler. Reduce the heat to medium so that the water is simmering. Put the egg yolks and 2 tablespoons of water in the top of the double boiler and set over the simmering water. Whisk the eggs continuously for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, or until the eggs are thick and foamy and their color lightens. Watch the eggs carefully; they must not scramble and cook. Remove the top of the double boiler from the heat.

In a small saucepan, heat the butter over medium-low heat. Very gradually add half of the warm butter to the eggs, whisking constantly. Add 1 tablespoon of water and continue to whisk as you add the rest of the melted butter and the sauce emulsifies. Stir in the lemon juice, Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces, salt, and pepper. Return the top of the double boiler to the heat over the simmering water (add more water to the bottom of the double boiler if necessary). Cook gently until the sauce registers 110 to 120 degrees on an instant read thermometer. Serve warm.

Bearnaise Sauce:  Although it may seem like overkill, if you want to embellish the already extravagant Hollandaise Sauce, turn it into B√©arnaise with the addition of shallots and tarragon, white wine, and white wine vinegar. Makes about 2 cups

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the vinegar, wine, tarragon, and shallots. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until enough liquid evaporates so that it barely coats the bottom of the pan. In the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, heat the Hollandaise Sauce, whisking to keep it from separating. Add the vinegar-shallot mixture and continue whisking. Season to taste with a little salt.

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