Whole grilled beef tenderloin with caramelised onions and gorgonzola dolce
Prep 20 mins
Cook 20 mins (plus resting)
“From the outside, this dish seems like it should be for special occasions only, but the truth is it’s so simple to prepare you really can make it any time you want,” says Danielle Alvarez. “My mom made this kind of thing a lot whenever the beef tenderloin was on sale at the store and, as kids, we begged for it. The high price of this cut of meat can feel prohibitive, but sometimes you can get lucky. It’s a cut that has a bad rap for its lack of fat (because as we all know fat is where much of the ﬂavour lies), but that is where this delicious creamy gorgonzola sauce comes in. There are those who I’m sure are not fans of beef and blue cheese, but I urge you to try it anyway. It’s much milder than you might think, and the cheese adds a good kick of umami savouriness to an otherwise mild cut of beef. Cooking this cut over charcoal or wood is also very important. You just won’t get the ﬂavour from a chargrill pan on the stove. Be sure to get the grill super hot before you start grilling, and make sure the coals are white before you place the meat on the grill. Don’t be afraid of seasoning either; the meat really needs lots of black pepper and salt. You can also cook ﬁllet steaks instead of a whole tenderloin if you are cooking for a smaller group.”
2kg whole beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied, brought to room temperature
Olive oil, for rubbing
Radicchio, such as treviso, to serve
600ml pure cream
180g gorgonzola dolce
1 tsp lemon juice
2 onions, peeled and sliced thinly
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to serve
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp red wine or sherry vinegar, plus extra to serve
50 ml red wine
1. To make your sauce, simmer the cream slowly in a small saucepan until it is reduced by half. To avoid the cream bubbling over, keep a stainless-steel spoon in the pan as it simmers, but be careful when touching the spoon as it can be very hot. Once reduced, add the blue cheese and salt and pepper, then set aside. The sauce can be rewarmed gently and just needs the lemon juice added at the end. Don’t chill and rewarm this sauce as it can split.
2. To make your onions, heat a sauté pan over a low heat. Sweat the onions in the oil with a pinch of salt until they are tender and have released most of their water, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat and begin to brown them. Unlike recipes where you cook them slowly and allow them to caramelise gently, here, we want to brown them quickly so that they maintain some texture and integrity. Once they are nice and brown, turn the heat back down to low and add the Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and red wine. Allow to cook out and reduce for about 2 minutes, then set aside.
3. To cook your beef, rub it gently with a small amount of olive oil, then season it liberally with salt and roughly cracked black pepper. Be sure that it has come to room temperature before you cook it. Get your grill nice and hot. Place the meat on the hottest part of the charcoal grill to try to achieve maximum char on all sides. The browning process should take 8–10 minutes depending on the size of the beef and the heat coming from your grill. At this stage, check the temperature. You’re looking for 50°C for rare and 51–58°C for medium-rare. If the meat is not quite there yet, keep cooking it on the cooler sections of the grill and rotate it until the desired temperature is achieved. As soon as the meat is ready, remove it from the grill and wrap it tightly in aluminium foil. Leave it to rest in a warm spot, such as an oven with the pilot on, or an oven set to 50°C. It should rest for at least 20 minutes.
4. To ﬁnish, warm the onions and gorgonzola sauce and slice the beef. Dress the radicchio with a good few splashes of red-wine vinegar, some olive oil and salt and pepper, and either plate each dish with a few of each component, or serve it all in the middle of the table so people can choose how much sauce they want.
Extracted with permission from the book Always Add Lemon by Danielle Alvarez, published by Hardie Grant Books, $50. Photography © Benito Martin and Jess Johnson.