Tournedos Rossini is beef steak with foie gras.
To make it, you start by making from scratch fresh, crisp rounds of sautéed bread the same width as that of the beef tenderloin cuts that you will be using.
Small slices of beef tenderloin are sautéed about 2 minutes per side and placed on top of the croutons that you just made. These are then topped with sautéed slices of foie gras, then topped with some shaved truffle, and drizzled with Madeira sauce.
The tenderloin is a dry meat, so the foie gras adds some interest to the dish.
Tournedos Rossini are named after the opera writer Gioacchino Antonio Rossini (born Pesaro, Italy, 1792.) He lived in Bologna, Florence and Paris. He loved good food – witness the cities he chose to live in. He prided himself by the age of 30 of having known “i più famosi chefs del continente” (“the most important chefs on the continent.”)
He retired in 1829 at 37, after the successes of his operas “The Barber of Seville” and “William Tell.” He died 13 November 1868 at the age of 80 years old, and was buried in Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris.
At restaurants where he frequently ate in Paris, he would go into the kitchen and greet the chef.
Some feel that Rossini’s favourite food was turkey stuffed with truffles. He once cried when a picnic basket with this in it fell overboard out of a boat.
Some people believe that Tournedos Rossini were created by Casimir Moisson, chef of the Maison Dorée, one of Rossini’s favourite restaurants.
Wags told another version of the dish’s creation: that he was in the kitchen at the Café des Anglais pestering the chef, until the chef told him to turn around and get out of the kitchen “et alors, tournez le dos!” (or “fine, then don’t watch me, turn around”, depending on the variation of the story — all versions of which are almost certainly apocryphal.)