When we started talking about Holiday Entertaining menus, Olaiya suggested making Beef Tenderloin as the main course. I was skeptical because in the past I was usually unhappy with how the meat turned out. Why did I doubt her? I am in the kitchen with a pro – the technique she used to dry-brine and then sear the meat was brilliant. I have never tasted meat so tender. The pistou came together and it was like frosting. You didn’t know you needed it until you tasted it. Serve with Wild Washington Apple Cider.
For the roast:
1 4- to 5-pound trimmed whole beef tenderloin, tail tucked under, tied every 3 inches
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1-2 tablespoon high-heat oil
For the pistou:
6 tablespoons celery leaves
2 tablespoons parsley
6 tablespoons toasted pecans
6 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Sugar, to taste (optional)
To dry-brine the beef: sprinkle the entire surface of the tenderloin with the salt. Place the roast on a cooling rack set over large rimmed sheet pan. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 24 hours and up to 48 hours.
Let the roast stand at room temperature for 1 hour before roasting. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 375°F.
Heat a large stainless or cast iron pan over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the beef and cook, turning as necessary to cook the four long sides of the roast until they are golden brown. When the long sides of the roast have been seared, use tongs to stand it on each end and cook until the ends are also seared and golden brown
Return the beef to the cooling rack on the baking sheet and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of meat registers 125°F for medium-rare (135°F to 140°F in thinnest part), about 30 minutes. Remove the roast from oven and let it rest for 10-20 minutes.
While the beef is resting, make the pistou: Place the celery leaves, parsley, pecans and the oil in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the herbs and pecans are roughly chopped, adding a bit more oil if necessary to get the mixture moving. Season to taste with salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar if your pecans are not sweet.
When the roast has rested, cut the string off. Cut the roast crosswise into thick slices. Arrange on a serving platter on spoon the pistou over the roast.
Serves about 10.