If you’re looking to grill on Bastille Day (that’s next Thursday!), look no further. This recipe, from French in a Flash a few weeks ago, is just about the best grilled steak I’ve ever had. Inexpensive, but super-tender, beef tenderloin tips are encased in a salty crust of garlic, olive oil, and chopped fresh herbes de Provence: rosemary, thyme, savory, and others. Seared on the grill, and then sliced up–it’s tremendous, different, light, delicious. Because frankly, I wait all day for the one day where I can be as French as possible. And I’m definitely going to take advantage. Below, the original column.
And if you want to know how to cook perfect bistro steak, watch the video!
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Few things hang better in thick summer air than the smell of grilling steak. There’s something about the meaty haze clouding up the already hazy air and hanging there, calling everyone to the grill like a clanging dinnertime gong. I imagine it must be something like an ex-smoker walking through a cloud of recently exhaled cigarette puffs; everything stops, and then even the most determined mind can only think of one thing. How can you not hang around a hot grill full of steaks like a starving dog with your tongue dangling from your mouth? You have to. It’s carnal. Biological. Period.
This recipe starts with the fabled herbes de Provence, a combination of typically dried herbs that you find jumbled together in a supermarket glass bottle. In this recipe, I use the same jumble, but in their fresh versions: rosemary, thyme, savory, sage, lavender, marjoram, bay, chervil, fennel, or any combination thereof. I mix the little herb shards with garlic—that stalwart of French Provençal cooking—and olive oil, then rub the paste all over beef tenderloin steaks. When the meat hits that even-hotter-than-the-air grill, immediately the garlic and herbs flare up and fill your nose, the herbs form a kind of latticed crust around meat, and the smoke from the herbs permeates into the steak.
I use beef tenderloin tips for this recipe. The tip is less expensive than the fillet because it is thinner at one end than at the other. For that reason, it’s usually cut up and tossed into Stroganoffs. But I like it for a summer grill because I can slice up the long piece of meat into medallions that range from medium-rare to medium-well, which lets you satisfy a wide range of tastes. This is one of my favorite all-time recipes: simple, hearty, and honest that tastes perfectly of ultra-tender meat and a salty, herby char. Maybe this one should also come with a Surgeon General’s warning: highly addictive.
- 2 ⅓ to ½-pound beef tenderloin tips
- Kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 stems rosemary, chopped
- 15 stems thyme, chopped
- 9 sage leaves, chopped
- 2 stems savory, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, grated
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Take the meat out of the fridge 15 minutes before you want to use it, to take the chill off. Pat the meat dry on a paper towel, and salt and pepper it well on all sides.
To make the rub, chop all the herbs and grate the garlic. Mix them with the olive oil in a small bowl. Use your fingers to rub the rub all over the meat.
Preheat a grill pan on medium-high heat until very hot. Sear the meat 3 minutes on each of its four sides, until a golden-brown crust has formed. Sear it an additional minute on the flat end of the tenderloin. Remove the meat to a small rimmed baking sheet, and bake in the oven for 4 to 6 minutes, until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 130°F for a medium steak. Allow the meat to rest 10 minutes before slicing.
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