Originally created 04/03/00

Spanish Elegance



It's all in the sauce.

According to Chef Heinz Sowinski of La Maison restaurant, the dinner selection 1999 Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal made is a simple meal with an exceptional sauce.

"This sauce is the key to the meal," Mr. Sowinski said.

For the annual ultra-exclusive, invitation-only annual Champions Dinner, Mr. Olazabal chose a traditional Spanish meal. Solomillo de buey y sausa Bordeleso. Simply put, beef filets with Bordeaux sauce.

Side dishes will include romaine lettuce with olive oil, papitas fritas, or french fries, and shallots. Spanish red wine from 1994 will be served as well as "anything with chocolate" for dessert.

The annual Champions Dinner will be held Tuesday night at the Augusta National Clubhouse. The dinner, which was created in 1952 by golfer Ben Hogan, has turned into a culinary showcase that reflects the roots of the defending champion.

Mr. Sowinski said the Bordeaux sauce is the crowning achievement of the meal. The French sauce is made with red wine, brown stock, bone marrow, shallots, parsley and herbs.

In making the sauce, Mr. Sowinski said, it's imperative to use a good wine.

"Don't ever use a cheap wine for a good sauce," he said.

The 8-ounce filet mignon should be completely trimmed of fat and seasoned with salt and pepper before being grilled for three to four minutes. If additional cooking is needed, Mr. Sowinski suggests heating the steak in the oven for desired tenderness.

The papitas fritas, which are cut by hand and fried in peanut oil, can be adjusted to Mr. Olazabal's liking -- thinner cuts for a crispier taste, thicker for more of a potato flavor.

"A good meal will have a nice big steak and a generous portion of the french fries," Mr. Sowinski said.

Mr. Olazabal first played host to the annual dinner in 1995. That year he chose a traditional a Spanish hors d'oeurve called tapas, and tender fried white fish in beaten egg, called hake.

Past Champions Dinners have featured a wide variety of fare. In 1995, Ben Crenshaw served Texas barbecue, and in 1998 Tiger Woods served cheeseburgers and milkshakes.

For those who do not wish to partake in the champion's selected meal, steak, fish and chicken also are available.

Solomillo de buey y sausa Bordeleso with papitas fritas

1 tablespoon fine chopped shallots

1 teaspoon clarified butter

2 cups Merlot wine

1 cup brown veal stock

2 tablespoons bone marrow from veal bones

1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley

Salt and pepper

8 ounce filet mignon, completely trimmed of fat

1 Idaho potato, washed and peeled

2 cups peanut oil

In a medium-size saucepan, glaze shallots in the clarified butter to a light golden shine. Add wine and let cook until liquid is reduced by half. Add veal stock and cook until combination is reduced to 1 cup. Add bone marrow, parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer on low heat.

Salt and pepper the filet before browning the steak on each side of grill .

Cut potato into 1/4-inch sticks and pat dry with a paper towel. Heat peanut oil to between 350 and 374 degrees. Drop potato sticks in oil and cook about 5 minutes, or until fries look crisp. Pat excess oil from the potatoes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Reach Barnini Chakraborty at (706) 823-3332 or barnini.chakraborty@augustachronicle.com.

On the menu

Here's what champions have chosen to serve at the Champions Dinner during the past decade:

1999, Mark O'Meara: Steak and chicken fajitas, with sushi and sashimi appetizers

1998, Tiger Woods: Cheeseburgers, grilled chicken sandwiches and strawberry and vanilla milkshakes

1997, Nick Faldo: Fish and chips, with tomato soup appetizer

1996, Ben Crenshaw: Texas barbecue

1995, Jose Maria Olazabal: Paella, tapas and hake

1994, Bernhard Langer: Turkey and dressing with wedding soup and black forest torte

1993, Fred Couples: Chicken cacciatore

1992, Ian Woosnam: Leg of lamb with sweet meadow hay

1991, Nick Faldo: steak and kidney pie

1990, Nick Faldo: shepherd's pie