Happy 3 days until Christmas Eve, everyone! I’m so excited to celebrate with good company and of course, good food! Boy, do I have a goodie for you today!! If you’re hosting Christmas dinner at your place, might I suggest this beautiful and impressive Herb-Roasted Filet of Beef with Basil Aioli. Sounds super fancy, right? But with a total of only 6 ingredients for the beef and 7 ingredients for the aioli, you’ll be surprised at how simple it is to put together this gorgeous meal.
Granted, to make this you’ll need roughly 4 pounds of a whole filet of beef tenderloin and if you didn’t already know, it’s not cheap. But hey, it’s filet! And it easily serves 8-10 people. When I make this (which is once or twice a year tops), I always get it at Wegman’s because they take special requests at no additional charge. So I’ll call and ask for a 4 – 4.5 pound whole tenderloin, trimmed and tied. And as soon as a day later I go to the store and it’s all ready to go with my name on it….along with a hefty $100+ price tag. But I’ll say it again: it’s SO worth it. Your guests will “ooh” and “ahh” over how the flavorful meat melts in their mouths. I should also mention that leftovers make the most amazing steak sandwich I have ever had. No joke. See below on how to make that too!
I like to make the basil aioli ahead of time since it’s quick and easy and stores well in the fridge for a week or more. (You can also make it while the meat is cooking.) Aioli is basically fancy mayo, usually made with garlic, olive oil, egg yolks, and lemon juice. You can make lots of variations of it and here I’m using basil to add another dimension of flavor.
All you do is throw all the ingredients shown below into a blender, EXCEPT for the vegetable oil and extra virgin olive oil. (If you have a food processor, that’ll work too.)
Pulse the ingredients a couple times until slightly broken down. Then remove the middle insert on the blender’s cover, put the cover back on the blender, turn on low and slowly pour in the mixture of vegetable oil and extra virgin olive oil. In less than a minute it will come together into the most delicious fancy mayo you’ve ever had – guaranteed. Cover with plastic and store in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
See, told you this was easy! And the beef is almost just as simple. The only thing you need to make it fool-proof is a good meat thermometer.
In addition to the meat itself, you’ll need the following simple ingredients to make the beef:
Start by preheating the oven to 275 degrees F. Then put the beef on a baking sheet covered in foil. Pat the meat dry with a paper towel.
Then brush on 3 Tablespoons of olive oil all over the meat (both sides).
Generously sprinkle about 1 1/2 Tablespoons of kosher salt and 2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper all over the meat. It might seem like a lot of salt, but this is a lot of meat and it needs it.
Then stick the rosemary and tarragon all over the meat (both sides), securing them in the ties. Finally, brush another Tablespoon of olive oil all over the herbs to prevent them from burning.
Then take a moment to take it in – isn’t it glorious?
Now for the crucial part. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the filet and set it to reach an internal temperature of 135 degrees F. This’ll get you to medium rare, and I wouldn’t recommend cooking it too much past that. This cut of meat was made to be eaten medium rare (sorry to all you well done beef eaters out there!).
I want to take a moment to re-iterate the target temperature is 135 degrees F. FAHRENHEIT. Not Celsius. Not so funny side story – the second time I ever made this, I set the meat thermometer to 135 degrees, not realizing the default setting on my thermometer was Celsius. I didn’t realize my faux pas until nearly 2 hours of cooking time and after I had been frantically pacing back and forth yelling “why is this taking so long?!” (135 degrees C is a whopping 275 degrees F. DOH.) I cut into the beef, only to reveal the whole thing was extremely well done. Thankfully, it was salvageable since filet is so darn tender – it actually still tasted pretty good. But let’s not do that, ok? So please, please pay special attention to the temp setting!
Put the meat in the oven, keeping the thermometer’s “reader” on the stove (mine beeps when it hits the target temperature). Depending on the size, it will take roughly an hour to an hour and a half to get to medium rare. Once it’s done cover the meat with a big piece of foil for 15-20 minutes. Don’t skip this step – it allows the meat to rest and all the juices will stay in the meat, making it extra juicy and tender.
Cut the meat into 1/2 inch slices and serve with the basil aoili and your favorite side dish. Your holiday dinner will be epic!
And all you need to make the most amazing steak sandwich is a baguette and some greens (I like using baby arugula)…..and BOOM.
The combination of the creamy basil aioli and spicy arugula on the crunchy baguette with the rich, flavorful beef is unbelievable. I’m serious, I even thought about quitting my job and selling these on a food truck. But then I realized I’d probably eat all of my inventory. Then I’d be broke. And fat. Not a good business plan.
- 4-4.5 lbs whole filet of beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1.5 Tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 10 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 10 sprigs fresh tarragon
- Fresh basil (0.75 oz package)
- 4 egg yolks, room temperature
- 4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
- 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Meat thermometer
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
- Cover a baking sheet with foil and put the meat on it. Pat meat dry with paper towels.
- Brush 3 Tablespoons of olive oil all over the meat (both sides). Then sprinkle 1.5 Tablespoons of kosher salt and 2 teaspoons black pepper all over the meat (both sides).
- Stick the fresh herbs into the ties, covering the meat as much as possible on both sides. Brush the remaining 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over the herbs.
- Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the filet, then set the target temperature to 135 degrees Fahrenheit for medium rare. Put meat into the oven, setting the meat thermometer's "reader" on top of the stove (mine beeps loudly when the meat hits the target temperature). It will take 1-1.5 hours to cook.
- While the meat cooks, make the basil aioli by putting all ingredients, EXCEPT for the vegetable oil and extra virgin olive oil, into a blender or food processor. Pulse a couple times to break down the ingredients.
- Remove the center piece of the blender's cover. Put the cover on the blender and while mixing on low, slowly add both oils into the blender cover's hole. It will take less than a minute for the sauce to come together. Put into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Once the meat is ready, remove from the oven and cover with a big piece of foil. Allow to rest for 15-20 minutes before slicing into 1/2 inch pieces. Serve with the basil aioli.