The Grinch…appropriately enough.
That poor ol’ Grinch…he obviously had never had beef tenderloin, trimmed, tied, and toasted to perfection! Whether for Christmas Dinner or any occasion for that matter, this dish is quite elegant, easy, and effective. Definitely a dish that you will get what you pay for, since this score of meat is where a filet mignon is cut. Like all high quality and naturally flavorful cuts of meat, simplicity is best. A bit of marinating, some searing and roasting and dinner is served, my dear.
A trip to my local butcher is always de rigueur for special occasions, holidays, and specialty cuts. There’s a great deal to be said being from a small town, and our meat market speaks for itself. (see this link for reviews) Your grocer’s butcher can also accommodate if you are not familiar with a butcher in your area.
So, since I was feeding 6 people, I relied on “about a pound a person” which is more than adequate… leftovers wanted! I asked the butcher to “trim and tie” the tenderloin which saves the cook a great deal of work. A quick marinade of red wine vinegar, soy, Worcestershire, sesame oil, onions and herbs (parsley and rosemary…big shock there I know) was just right for this slab of meat. If you don’t have time to marinate, pat dry the meat, rub with vegetable oil, sprinkle salt and pepper, and sear – you’re good to go just as well!
I was able to marinate this one overnight, which was a gracious plenty…an hour plus could even suffice if need be. Now, for the secret to good chops, roasts, steaks, tenderloins, and filets…sear them first! I use a cast iron griddle for this size of tenderloin, but a skillet for filets or chops is perfect.
Heat that ironware up so it’s smokin’ hot…use a medium heat and grease the cast iron with spray oil…trust me, it’ll get hot! When it’s smokin’ and smellin’ its ready! Sear each and every side for about a minute max…what you are doing is forming a crust…a delicious outer layer that shells in the moisture and au jus. Add the meat back to the roasting pan with some reserve marinade and roast in oven at 450° F for 20-25 minutes for a medium rare filet. Remember, your meat will continue to cook, so “tent” the meat with foil for at least ten minutes before you slice, or else all the juices will run out. Your marinade has now become your gravy too…yum, yum, yum.
Bring your marinade to a boil and let it simmer to reduce and thicken. Cook some of the rarer pieces in the gravy for those who prefer a more thoroughly cooked piece of beef.
After your meat has rested under its tent of foil, carve or slice the meat width wise for individual servings or filets. Here’s a tip…the more “rested” the meat is, the better it slices…plus, these leftover slices of filet are FABO as a sandwich on foccocia or ciabatta bread with a tangy bit of horseradish aioli (Half cup of good mayo, half cup of sour cream, and horseradish to taste…lightly spread on the bread and chow down…quite delish!) and a touch of green…like butter lettuce or Spring greens.