Published November 1, 1998.
When you spend this much for a piece of meat, you want to be sure it comes out right. Here's how to add a flavorful crust and end up with an evenly cooked roast.
Despite its many virtues--a tender, buttery texture being uppermost among them--the beef tenderloin is not without its liabilities--price, of course, being the biggest. The problems with the tenderloin as far as the cook is concerned are two. First, its torpedo-like shape--thick at one end and gradually tapering at the other--causes it to roast unevenly. Second, while its flavor is rich, it is also mild, sometimes barely recognizable as beef.
An evenly cooked, perfectly done beef tenderloin graced with a rich brown crust to enhance its flavor.
To even the shape, you can fold the narrow end (called the tip end) under and tie it to bulk it up to almost the same girth as the chunky end (called the butt tender). Or, you can tie the roast at 1 1/2-inch intervals to even out its shape. Finally, you can snip the silver skin (the thin, tissuelike membrane encasing the meat) at several points to prevent the meat from bowing during cooking, which occurs when the silver skin shrinks more than the meat to which it is attached. To enhance the flavor of the meat, roast at 425 degrees to produce both a beautiful crust, a pink interior, and no smoke. Finally, the ultimate texture of the meat can be enhanced by giving it a good rest once it emerges from the oven, before carving. If cut too soon, its slices are soft and flabby. A slightly long rest allows the meat to firm up into a more appealing texture.list of recipes