Alex came home last night with a bag of beef tenderloin. Although her father and I had just been to the grocery where I bought so much lamb and beef, she asked if she could do the cooking today. She was terribly excited to put the beef tenderloin on the grill. I said okay and we agreed on beef tenderloin with chimichurri verde tacos.
All that excitement over beef tenderloin? Personally, I like fat in my meat and tenderloin is just as lean as lean gets. I have to admit though that good tenderloin is a class all its own. When cooked right, it cuts like butter and the sensation in the mouth is unbelievable. And, when seasoned correctly and sparingly, the delight is doubled.
I still remember the best beef tenderloin I ever had in my life. I was about 18, I was going to be by myself in the house for dinner so my father left four bacon-wrapped beef tenderloin medallions in the fridge. All I had to do was grill them to the doneness that I wanted. So simple. But four medallions proved too much for me. As delectable as they were, my digestive system just gave up after the third.
Last night, as Alex and I discussed how the beef tenderloin was going to be cooked, she said that they were taught in culinary school that it is a better idea to season the steak about half an hour prior to cooking. AND the seasoning should contain oil to moisten the meat and prevent it from sticking on the grill. I let her do the tenderloin steaks as she suggested but with the additional instruction to still brush the grill with a little oil.
Alex grilled the tenderloin steaks to medium rare beautifully. I couldn’t have done a better job. She let the meat rest for some ten minute before slicing. She prepared the lettuce and tomatoes to go with the beef. Assembling and plating was on me.
What is chimichurri verde? Chimichurri is a tart and garlicky uncooked sauce from Argentina and Uruguay. It is made with parsley, garlic, oil, oregano and vinegar. If made with pepper flakes (as it is in Uruguay), it is called chimichurri rojo. Without the pepper flakes (the version popular in Argentina), it is chimichurri verde. Chimichurri is a traditional accompaniment for grilled meat. Ours was store-bought although you may easily make a home version. See Epicurious, Food & Wine and Serious Eats for recipes.
Beef Tenderloin and Chimichurri Verde Tacos
Cut the beef tenderloin into medallions about three quarters of an inch thick. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle liberally with oil. Mix well. Place in a covered bowl and leave to marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Take the meat out of the fridge. Remove the cover to allow the meat to go back to room temperature.
Fire up the grill (we used a stovetop grill). Ultra high heat is required. Brush or spray lightly with oil.
When the oiled grill starts to smoke, lay the beef tenderloin medallions in a single layer about two inches apart. Grill for two to three minutes per side depending on the doneness that you prefer.
Take the grilled beef tenderloin off the grill, transfer to a chopping board, cover loosely with foil and leave to rest for ten minutes.
Meanwhile, lower the heat of the grill to medium. Heat both sides of the tortillas.
Slice the beef tenderloin across the grain to about one-fourth to one-third inch thickness.
Assemble your tacos. Place a tortilla (or two) on a plate, arrange beef tenderloin slices on top and drizzle with chimichurri.
Serve the beef tenderloin and chimichurri verde tacos with shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes on the side.