Beef Tenderloin with Port-Plum Sauce and Shrimp with Passion Fruit Glaze

Recipe courtesy of Lee Knaz

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The theme of the second Invention Test was romance. Lee had a choice of three evocative ingredients to cook with: rich, decadent chocolate; sweet, creamy burrata cheese; or sweet, juicy passion fruit. After some thinking, Lee opted for the passion fruit, saying, "I think I can make it sexy."

In his seductive version of surf-and-turf, Lee bathed sweet shrimp in passion fruit glaze and drizzled port wine and plum sauce over tender pieces of beef. Gordon praised the dish as "spot on" and "unique."


  • 5 passion fruit, halved
  • Zest, finely grated, and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 16 jumbo shrimp or large shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails and heads on
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 (5-to-6-ounce) pieces beef tenderloin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup port wine
  • 4 plums, peeled, pitted, and chopped
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, coarsely chopped
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • Endive leaves, for garnish


  1. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a measuring cup. Scrape out the pulp of the passion fruit with a spoon, and press it through the strainer to remove the seeds. You should get about 1/4 cup of juice. Pour the juice into a shallow baking dish, add the lemon zest and juice, garlic, shallot, and shrimp. Toss to coat the shrimp thoroughly and set aside at room temperature to marinate for 20 to 30 minutes.

  2. Preheat the oven to 300°F.

  3. Coat a large pot or Dutch oven with 3 tablespoons of the oil and place over medium-high heat. Season the tenderloin with 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, lay the meat in the pan and brown well for 2 minutes per side. Transfer the beef to a baking pan, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes for medium-rare.

  4. To the meat drippings in the pot, add the onion, carrot, celery, and thyme. Cook over medium heat, stirring, for 5 minutes to soften. Remove the thyme to a small plate and set aside. Deglaze the pan with the port and cook for 1 minute to evaporate the alcohol. Add the plums and season with salt and pepper. Pour in the beef broth, and simmer gently for 10 minutes, or until the plums are soft and the liquid has reduced by half. Strain the sauce into another small pot and whisk in 2 tablespoons butter until melted and the sauce is glossy. Cover to keep warm.

  5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower and parsnips. Boil for 5 minutes, or until fork tender. Drain the vegetables in a colander. Transfer the cauliflower and parsnips to a blender. Add the cream, 1/2 cup butter, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Puree until the mixture is completely smooth and creamy. Cover to keep warm.

  6. Coat a skillet with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the shrimp along with the passion fruit marinade. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the shrimp curls and is firm and the marinade cooks down into a glaze.

  7. To serve, place a few endive leaves on the side of plate and lay a couple of shrimp on top. Spoon a generous amount of the cauliflower-parsnip puree on one side of the plate, lay the steak on top, and drizzle with the port-plum sauce. Drizzle shrimp with the remaining passion fruit pan sauce. Lay a reserved thyme sprig across the top for garnish.

Chef Ingredient:

Passion Fruit

If you aren't able to find fresh passion fruit, try substituting store bought passion fruit juice or nectar. These are sold in supermarkets and often contain other sweeter juices such as apple and white grape, but you can reduce them and add lemon juice for a similar taste. For this recipe, pour 1 cup of store-bought juice into a small skillet or saucepan over medium heat, add about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and reduce the liquid by half.

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Beef Tenderloin with Port-Plum Sauce and Shrimp with Passion Fruit Glaze