An elegant fillet of beef tenderloin has long been associated with special occasions, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying this succulent, tender steak whenever you need a beef fix. Chef Neal Fraser shared this recipe with us, pairing the tender steaks with what he calls polenta souped up with hominy and pancetta. Delicious!
Game plan: Sautéing the steaks in the rendered pancetta fat, left over from making the polenta, adds extra flavor. It’s not necessary, though.
- 1Make the Pancetta and Hominy Polenta and keep it warm while preparing the tenderloin.
- 2Heat to 500°F and arrange the rack in the top third of the oven. Season steaks with salt and freshly ground black pepper; let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes before cooking.
- 3Heat a large cast iron skillet or frying pan over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add oil (or reserved rendered pancetta fat) and swirl to coat the pan.
- 4Place fillets in the pan and sear until nicely browned on one side, about 3 minutes. Flip steaks, then place the entire pan in the heated oven. Cook to desired doneness, about 5 minutes for medium rare. Remove from the oven and let rest 3 to 5 minutes before serving.
Beverage pairing: Rich red meat—a great opportunity to drink BRW, or big red wine. A meaty, lush, new-world Cabernet has the tannins to handle the beef’s unctuousness and the native sweetness to meet the warmth of the corn. A good bet is the 2004 Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.