Filet of Beef (Silpancho)
Silpancho is a Bolivian signature dish designed for hearty eaters. This stacked creation layers rice, beef tenderloin, eggs, and potatoes, all topped with salsa. The beef tenderloin chunks are pounded very thin with a heavy mallet, incorporating bread crumbs along the way. Note the clever technique of putting the bread crumbs in a large baking pan to contain some of the mess! The pounded beef pieces should end up as big as the serving plates; being so thin, they cook very quickly. As the eggs cook, two by two, in the oil, they run together, resulting in a large area of cooked egg white and two yolks per serving.
- Beef Tenderloin - 1
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Fine Bread Crumbs - 3 to 4 cups
- Canola oil
- Eggs - 2
- Potatoes - 4 large,
- Onion - 1, sliced thin
- Tomatoes - 4 , medium, peeled, seeded, and chopped
- Hot green chili pepper - 1, peeled, seeded, and chopped fine
- Parsley Sprigs - 3, chopped fine
- Vegetable Oil - 3 tablespoons
- Balsamic Vinegar - 1 tablespoon
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- White rice - 2 cups, steamed, kept hot
To prepare the steak: Trim the steak and cut into four thick pieces. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Put 2 cups of the bread crumbs in a large baking pan; this keeps the crumbs in place as you work the meat. Place one piece of the meat on a work surface and sprinkle it with one fourth of the remaining bread crumbs. Pound the beef with a mallet or other heavy object until it is as big as your hand. Place the pounded beef in the baking pan with the bread crumbs and sprinkle crumbs over the meat. Continue to beat until the meat is the same size as the serving plate and very thin, working bread crumbs into the meat as you pound. Set the pounded beef aside; repeat with the remaining 3 fillet pieces, adding bread crumbs as necessary.
Pour 1/2-inch of canola oil in a large non-stick saute pan or skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Put a piece of beef in the hot oil and fry 1 minute; turn with tongs and fry 1 more minute. Remove and drain on paper towels; keep warm. Repeat to cook all the pounded beef pieces.
To prepare the eggs: Pour 3/4-inch of canola oil in a medium non-stick saute pan or skillet and heat over medium heat. Crack two eggs into the hot oil and let cook slowly until the whites have joined and firmed and the yolks hold together under a membrane of white. Slip the eggs onto a plate and set aside. Repeat to cook all eggs in sets of two.
To prepare the potatoes: Slip the skins off the potatoes and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Place the potatoes in the same oil used for the eggs and place over medium-high heat. Fry until the potatoes are lightly browned; remove with a wire skimmer or slotted spoon and set aside on paper towels to drain.
To prepare the salsa: Combine all ingredients in a non-aluminum bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve: Check the temperature of all ingredients, making sure each is hot. Trim all four beef slices by placing a large bowl the same diameter as the serving plates over the beef, one piece at a time, and trimming off any portion which sticks out. Put a mound of rice in the center of each plate. Cover each with a piece of beef. Slip two fried eggs onto each beef slice. Place 3 or 4 potato slices around each plate. Top each dish with spoonfuls of salsa.