Of all the recipes I planned to try this week from my Cookbook of the Week: Barefoot Contessa Foolproof by Ina Garten, I think I was most looking forward to this one. It had nothing but delicious written all over it: filet of beef, fresh basil, homemade mayonnaise, "slow-roasted". I was salivating just reading about it. I wish I could say my enthusiasm lasted. In truth, the meal was quite tasty. The flavors were really good, however it bothered me a bit that for such an expensive cut of meat, it wasn't very tender, and I missed the texture of the outside of the meat being seared, like when it's grilled perfectly. Also, I didn't think the Basil Parmesan mayonnaise was anything groundbreaking. In terms of flavor, regular homemade Basil Pesto would have been my preference. I certainly don't want to sound negative about a dish that was tasty, and we did enjoy it. I simply feel that you could achieve better texture and flavor by grilling some really nice steaks to a perfect medium-rare and topping with some Homemade Basil Pesto. And it would save you a couple of hours, and probably save some money too. Don't let me sway you though, try it for yourself and see what you think.
Credit: Barefoot Contessa Foolproof by Ina Garten
1 whole filet of beef tenderoin, trimmed and tied (4 ½ pounds)
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
10-15 branches fresh tarragon
Basil Parmesan Mayonnaise, for serving (recipe follows)
~Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.
~Place the filet on a sheet pan and pat it dry with paper towels. Brush the filet allover with the oil, reserving about one half tablespoon. Sprinkle it all over with the salt and pepper. Place the tarragon branches around the beef, tying them in 4 or 5 places with kitchen string to keep the in place, and then brush the tarragon with the reserved oil.
~Roast the filet of beef for 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours, until the temperature registers125 degrees in the center for rare and 135 degrees for medium-rare. Cover the filet with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Slice thickly and serve warm or at room temperature with Basil Parmesan Mayonnaise.
Basil Parmesan Mayonnaise
2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ cup freshly grated Parmesancheese
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (You should not omit this-it is the binder for the mayo)
½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
½ teaspoon minced garlic
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup vegetable oil, at room temperature
½ cup olive oil, at room temperature
~Place the egg yolks, lemon juice, Parmesan, mustard, basil, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process for 20 seconds, until smooth. Combine the vegetable oil and olive oil in a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. With the processor running, slowly pour the oil mixture through the feed tube to make a thick emulsion. Adjust seasonings to taste. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use-it will keep for up to a week.