Christmas Day at our house usually involves hanging out at home in our new pajamas (a Christmas Eve tradition). I always invite people to stop by (in their pajamas if they’d like) and I put out an all-day buffet feast. The dessert tray is usually popular, as is the shrimp cocktail and smoked fish assortment, but the real star is the beef tenderloin. Since there’s no set time for dinner, there’s no way to keep the beef hot, so it’s best used for sandwiches. I always start with a good quality, well trimmed tenderloin. I don’t do much in the way of seasoning, I cut some slits in the meat and add some garlic cloves, add olive oil (I used bacon grease because I had it leftover from breakfast – I will definitely use it again in the future) to the top of the meat, rub the meat down with salt and pepper and add some “filet herbes” that my sister-in-law brought back from France (any combination of dried parsley, basil, shives, oregano, thyme – or whatever your favorite herbs are would fine). My personal favorite accoutrements for the tenderloin are: baby arugula, sliced tomatoes, and, of course, hollandaise sauce. I put out a variety of rolls – ciabatta, French rolls, Brioche, and, my son’s favorite; Hawaiian King rolls. I arrange everything on a large platter (the colors work great at Christmas time) and allow people to assemble their own sandwiches – I’ve never had a single complaint! Sometimes it’s the simplest things that are the best (it helps to make them look good too).
- 1 Beef Tenderloin Filet (trimmed and silver skin removed)
- 3-4 Cloves Garlic
- 2-3 TBS. Dried Filet Herbs
- 2 TBS. Olive Oil or Bacon Grease
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 Bag Baby Arugula
- 3 Tomatoes – thinly sliced
- Hollandaise sauce (see below)
- 12 Good Quality Rolls
Preheat oven to 500 Degrees. Cut 6-8 slits into the top of the tenderloin (deep enough to hold garlic clove) and place 1/2 peeled garlic clove in each slit. Drizzle olive oil or bacon fat over the top of the meat, season well with salt and pepper and “rub” it into the meat. Add the dried herbs to the top of the filet. Place the filet in a broiler pan and put in the preheated oven. Immediately turn the oven temperature down to 400 Degrees. Cook the tenderloin for 35-55 minutes (the time will depend on the size – particularly the thickness – of the filet until the internal temperature reaches 140 Degrees for medium rare. If your tenderloin has a thinner “tail” you will be guaranteed some more well-done meat. If you prefer, you can cut off the tail and cook it for a shorter period of time to keep it medium rare. When tenderloin has reached desired temperature remove and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Slice beef (thin, but not too thin), and place in the center of a platter. Surround the beef with the arugula and tomato slices and serve with a side of Hollandaise or your favorite sauce (you can use plain or flavored mayonnaise or a horseradish sauce).
For the Hollandaise Sauce:
- 3 Egg Yolks
- 2 TBS. Lemon Juice
- 1/2 Stick Unsalted Butter
- 1/2 tsp. Salt
- Pinch of Cayenne Pepper (optional)
Combine egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, and cayenne in a blender; blend until combined. In a small saucepan, heat butter until bubbling, but do not allow to burn.With the lid on, turn the blender to medium speed; remove the blender lid insert, and, in a slow, steady stream, add butter to blender. It is important that the hot butter be added slowly so that it cooks the eggs in the sauce.