My old man was a lawyer who worked for himself, and he used to talk about the “hills and valleys” of his office. We are radically different fathers. I don’t know anything about the ups and downs of the law business, but I do know the “hills and valleys” of cooking for a family. Lately, it has felt like we were eating the same things over and over. Roast chicken, black beans, puttanesca, pesto, pizza. Repeat. Repeat again.
But just this weekend, Santa Maria rocked the alla matriciana sauce and I stunned the kids with Bittman’s “oven-grilled” pork spareribs. And tonight I’m making a halibut recipe that I developed for some friends in Alaska (I’ll share it soon), and I’m feeling more optimistic about things around the kitchen.
Speaking of which, I promised to follow up on my Christmas dinner. As I mentioned in my last post, we were visiting Santa Maria’s folks for the holidays, and I wanted to cook something special. They are now at an age when they deserve a good meal in their own home, and I needed something to match my mother-in-law’s talents for setting a spectacular table. Meals in her house are taken in their dining room, and her table is alway carefully laid out, often with cutlery, glasses, or napkin rings from their long-ago trips around the world.
I went on my own journey, to my local butcher, for a beef tenderloin. I had never made one, but I had heard they were good. Based on the price, I knew it would be impressive. Little did I know it would be so easy, and so delicious. I could see in my mother-in-law’s eye the pleasure she took with each bite. I was relaxed because the meal came together with next-to-no effort, and we all had a wonderful holiday meal.
Easy Holiday Beef Tenderloin
- 2 tablespoons. olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon.
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- One 3-lb. center cut beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F.
In a small bowl, combine the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, garlic, rosemary, and pepper and rub all over the tenderloin.
Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the tenderloin on all sides until browned, about 3 minutes per side.
Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast for 30 to 35 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads 125°F, for medium rare.
Remove from the oven and transfer the meat to a cutting board. Cover the roast loosely with foil and let it rest for 20 minutes.
Note: Recipe is adapted from this one by Giada De Laurentiis.