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By the time that Thanksgiving is past, my desire for turkey has been basically tamed. And I often save a nice roasted ham for Easter. And a great way to ring in the New Year is with fantastic seafood. But when Christmas rolls around, I think beef. Before you roll your eyes and think chewy steaks, let me rush to add that I think beef tenderloin.
The tenderloin (also called chateaubriand) is the entire strip of tenderloin meat from the cow and slices of it are referred to as filet mignon. That's right ... those incredibly expensive two-inch thick steaks sold at your grocery store are to be found (at a much lower price) by slicing them off the beef tenderloin. In fact, if my house isn't very full, I often slice a couple of filet mignons from a whole tenderloin, wrap them in bacon and make that my special holiday feast. However, I'm almost always blessed with a full house and there's nothing quite as lovely as a whole roasted tenderloin with a fancy sauce to make everyone drool!
By the way, if you're a big fan of filet mignon, you can save money two ways. First, you can buy the whole tenderloin as I mentioned above. Also, when porterhouse steaks go on sale, pick up a bunch because you'll get two great steaks for the price of one! That little medallion on one side of the bone is none other than the filet mignon. The long strip of meat on the other side of the bone is known as the New York strip, shell, club or Delmonico steak when detached from the bone or the T-bone when left attached. I like to use the T-bones on the grill for a great backyard feast and save the filets for a special dinner.
So, with all this talk of great steak and beef, I guess I shouldn't keep you waiting for a recipe. This one's simple and tastes great and will be starring in this year's Christmas feast at my house. If a spicy hollandaise sauce doesn't appeal to you, you can omit the tomato paste and cayenne pepper. However, you'd be amazed at how special they make this dish. I like to include roasted potatoes, a special tossed salad featuring blue cheese and some kind of green vegetable (beans, asparagus, you name it) to round out the menu. With such a tender, relatively low fat main course, I don't feel the least bit guilty about finishing my meal with something as wonderful as cheesecake or crème brule! Enjoy and have a wonderful holiday season!
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine the salt and sugar and pour it into a baking sheet. Roll the whole tenderloin in the salt and sugar mixture so that the tenderloin is completely covered. In a large pan, heat the oil over high heat. Place the whole tenderloin in the hot oil and cook for 4 to 6 minutes on all four sides.
Remove the pan from the heat and place the tenderloin on a baking sheet. Finish in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the internal temperature is 140 degrees. Remove the tenderloin from the oven, cover it with aluminum foil and let it stand for 10 to 15 minutes.
While the meat rests, make the sauce. In a blender or food processor fitted with metal blade, pulse the egg yolks on low and slowly add the very warm melted butter, lemon juice, tomato paste, hot pepper sauce, and salt.
Slice the meat into 8 to 10 pieces and serve it with the warm hollandaise sauce.