We've featured several baked goods and side-dish recipes this holiday season, so this week we're shifting our focus to the main event. Whether you celebrate with your family and friends on Christmas Eve or Day, or are hosting a dinner party in the weeks leading up to the holiday, this is the occasion to step up and serve a main course that is elegant, decadent and crowd-pleasing.
Horseradish Encrusted Roast Tenderloin of Beef is our favorite choice to meet these criteria. Lean, tender, and with little fat, tenderloin is a naturally elegant cut of beef, and when perfectly cooked you should be able to cut it with a fork. Regrettably, beef tenderloin is decadent in both its richness and price, but the oohs and aahs you'll receive from your guests will be worth the extra expense. Let's be honest: There are few foods more satisfying to our local palates than a great piece of perfectly cooked red meat.
Don't be intimidated by the spectacular promotion of this recipe, or its fancy name, because it is surprisingly simple to prepare. From start to finish, Tony's recipe takes about an hour to complete, and even less time if you sear the roast a day ahead.
Tony loves this roast, which is coated in a mixture of prepared horseradish, panko breadcrumbs, garlic, fresh parsley and thyme. He uses Dijon mustard as the binding agent for the coating to adhere to the roast, which provides a lovely tanginess to the meat. This recipe is a contrast in textures between the tender, juicy steak and the crispy-crunchy breadcrumb coating, and is beautifully balanced in flavor.
In spite of the strong flavors used in the coating, the horseradish and mustard mellow during the roasting process. The flavors are present but not overwhelming, thus allowing the tenderloin to be the only star in this taste experience.
This dish has definite wow-factor, right down to its gorgeous presentation. The green of the herbs stands out so beautifully among the golden coating of the roast, that it's almost a shame to slice into it. So before you do, have your guests be seated and enjoy a little parade around the table with your culinary achievement. Consider it a victory lap.
Tony's recipe is more detailed than usual this week, which we hope will result in reduced time in the kitchen and a perfectly cooked, unforgettable roast.
When purchasing a tenderloin roast, plan for six to eight ounces per guest. The tenderloin will roast in a 400-degree oven for about 35 to 40 minutes until it reaches the medium-rare zone of 130 to 135 degrees (the beef will continue to cook as it rests). Oven temperatures will vary so always use a meat thermometer for accuracy. Once ready, allow the meat to rest for at least ten minutes before carving to preserve the internal juices.
For added flourish, Tony recommends serving the sliced tenderloin with a generous dollop of our horseradish cream sauce, accompanied by a big, dry, red wine like a Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Zinfandel, or go Italian with a Super-Tuscan red like Chianti or Brunello. Then sit down with your family and savor your success.
Home with the Lost Italian is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owns Sarello's restaurant in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their 8-year-old son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org. All previous recipes can be found at http://thelostitalian.areavoices.com
Horseradish Encrusted Roast Tenderloin of Beef
Serves: 6 - 8
1 trimmed whole tenderloin of beef (approx. 3-4 lbs.)
¾ cup prepared horseradish
3 cups Japanese breadcrumbs (Panko)
½ cup chopped Italian parsley (fresh)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (2-3 whole garlic cloves, minced)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup Dijon mustard
¾ cup olive oil
¼ cup fresh thyme leaves, stem removed
Kosher salt & ground black pepper
Roasting pan or glass four-sided baking dish
Pre-heat oven to 400° F
Have your butcher trim the tenderloin before purchasing. Tenderloin can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before using, or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Before using, remove from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about 20-30 minutes, to "take the chill off." This step will ensure even and quick cooking.
Place the beef tenderloin in your roasting pan and season the top lightly with more kosher salt and ground black pepper. Using a sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium to high heat for about a minute, then add the tenderloin and sear on all sides, about 3 to 4 minutes total. Remove tenderloin to a cutting board or baking pan, and let rest for about ten minutes.
In a mixing bowl, combine the horseradish, breadcrumbs, parsley, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour mixture into a baking dish or sheet pan and set aside.
After the meat has rested, use a basting brush to liberally apply the Dijon mustard to the entire tenderloin. Next, roll the beef in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing gently as needed so the crumbs adhere evenly to the beef. Be sure to coat the entire tenderloin.
Transfer the coated tenderloin to your baking dish, and drizzle the encrusted beef with the remaining olive oil. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest point of beef and roast at 400° F, until the internal temperature reaches 130-135° for medium-rare (about 35 to 40 minutes). Keep in mind that the meat will continue to cook even after it's removed from the oven, which will increase the internal temperature. For medium-rare, the temp should be 145 degrees after resting.
Remove from oven and transfer the beef to a cutting board. Cover with aluminum foil and let rest for ten to fifteen minutes, so that juices will not run out when carving.
Once the meat has rested, start at one end and carve the tenderloin into half-inch slices. Transfer to a serving platter and serve with Horseradish Cream Sauce and a big, dry red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Zinfandel, Chianti or Brunello.