"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Friday, March 21, 2008

Beef Tenderloin with Cornichon Tarragon Sauce

The thing I love about huge chunks of meat that you put in the oven is that people are somehow more impressed with them than individual bits that you fuss over on a grill/over the stovetop/in a fryer.

And the thing I love especially about beef tenderloin is that I can put it on a buffet and diners carve it themselves. You can't really do that with, say, a turkey.

So when it came around to planning the menu for Mrs. S.'s 86th, I went for the easy, impressive Beef Tenderloin with Cornichon Tarragon Sauce.

OK, people who are keeping track, yes, this is another recipe that I decided to cook for a fancy important occasion that I've NEVER USED BEFORE. That's how good this cookbook is. I have utter faith that it will all come out just fine.

But this didn't keep me from worrying about having enough sauce...and should I have beef gravy too? Fortunately the place where I get specialty cuts of meat (Henry's Market) makes an excellent homemade beef gravy so I got a quart and a half when I picked up the beef.

And then I needn't have worried about not enough sauce--this recipe makes a generous three cups or so--plenty. Folks who love wine-based sauces, this one's for you--it calls for a full bottle of wine that you cook down with the shallots and tarragon. Wow, packed with flavor. I've used the leftover cold sauce as a sandwich spread.

Another thing that makes this recipe worry-free (and I've mentioned them before here) a remote digital oven thermometer. If you cook stuff like this for crowds, get one, I beseech you--it takes the guesswork out and will let you breath easy. I can't help you if your roast is done an hour and half before dinner, but at least it won't be cooked to gray.

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