About Me

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Lansing, Michigan, United States
I am a Lansing townie, lawyer, and restaurant reviewer for the City Pulse. I love traveling, reading, yoga, and baking, but my favorite hobby is stuffing my face.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Best thing I made this year: slow-roasted filet of beef with basil parmesan mayonnaise

I'd like to be best friends with Ina Garten.
Here I am, offering my dream best friend a blueberry muffin.
I love her recipes, of course. I love that she used to work in the White House as a nuclear policy analyst, then she decided to buy a store (Barefoot Contessa) and break into the food biz. I love that she is unabashedly friends with Alec Baldwin, Mariska Hargitay,and a slew of middle-aged gay men who are constantly coming to her Hamptons home to arrange flowers, iron linens, and select the wine.

I love that she met her husband Jeffrey when she was 15 years old and is still so obviously head over heels for him. Also, read this, because it is hilarious.

I love that she is 65 years old. Have you seen her SKIN?! I'll have what she's having.

Finally, I love that Ina's book Foolproof gave me my best recipe of the year. It's a knock their socks off, bask in your glory, give me my own cooking show type of recipe, one that I made three times this year for three special occasions. I made it for the book club baby shower I threw for a great girlfriend of mine, mama to the world's most beautiful baby girl. 

I next made it for a party I threw in April, at which the boyfriend made his debut to 30 of my nearest and dearest. I wanted him to know what he was getting himself into right off the bat.

I brushed the recipe off again just a few days ago for a belated Christmas lunch. The original plan was to have a leisurely lunch at my father's house on Christmas Day. I would cook, we would all exchange gifts, my nephew would be given presents that he might be able to enjoy in six months or so.

Then, we lost power. Most people in Lansing did, and it stayed out for days. There was an uproar. We postponed Christmas lunch until the following Sunday and I put my beef tenderloin in the freezer.

Lo and behold, Christmas a few days late is just as sweet. It's even better when you have a juicy, tender, succulent filet on your plate, slathered with a salty, sharp, unexpectedly delicious sauce that resulted in my brother totally losing his mind ("put it on everything," he told his wife. "Put it on your face.") 

Christmas goes on. Families change, and they go on. Babies are born, relationships start and end, and, in my family, we eat. While we may not always be able to say how we're feeling, while we may not always know how we're feeling, we know that we will survive, we will adapt, and, above all, we're hungry.
slow-roasted filet of beef with basil parmesan mayonnaise, green beans gremolata, mashed potatoes

1 whole filet of beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied (4 1/2 pounds)
3 tablespoons good olive oil
4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
10 to 15 branches fresh tarragon
Basil Parmesan Mayonnaise, for serving, recipe follows


Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Use an oven thermometer to be sure your oven temperature is accurate.

Place the filet on a sheet pan and pat it dry (all over) with paper towels. Brush the filet all over with the oil, reserving about half a tablespoon. Sprinkle it all over with the salt and pepper (it will seem like a lot but believe me, it makes a difference). Place the tarragon branches around the beef, tying them in 4 or 5 places with kitchen twine to keep them in place, and then brush the tarragon with the reserved oil.

Roast the filet of beef for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, until the temperature registers 125 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
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup vegetable oil, at room temperature
1/2 cup good 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. Taste for seasonings -- the mayonnaise is a sauce so it should be highly seasoned. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use; it will keep for up to a week.

NOTES: this cut of meat is expensive- about $20 a pound. I get mine at Mert's in Okemos, where I ask for it trimmed and tied.
Do yourself a solid and use your meat thermometer. You don't want to overcook a $100 piece of meat.
The keys to mayonnaise are room temperature eggs, a food processor or a strong arm to whisk, and a sloooow addition of the oil.
This sauce is addicting. Make a lot and use it for crudites, on sandwiches, with your eggs in the morning.


Cassandra said...

I happened upon your blog because you linked it to a comment you left on Julie Morgan's wall on Facebook. I tried this recipe tonight, I even went to Mert's Meats in Okemos to purchase the roast. I must say, this was delish! I will add this recipe to my repertoire and make it for special occasions. I was surprised by the amount of salt, but I trusted your words, and I'm glad I did! Amazing dinner and I will be sure to follow this blog for great recipes in the future!

GCJ said...

Cassandra, thank you for your comment, and for trying the recipe! Did you make the mayonnaise too? That really puts the meal over the top for me.

Cassandra said...

Yes, I did! Super flavorful and wow, what a difference! I NEVER would have tried that either, especially with this meat, but so glad I did. And I was surprised how easy that was to make too!