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Food Network Favorites: Spicy Grilled Beef Tenderloin

Another offering from Tyler Florence. The title of this recipe really should be "Broiled Tomato Salad," since all you do with the beef tenderloin is season it with salt and pepper and throw it on a grill. As far as I'm concerned, that's not actually a recipe. It's the accompaniment to the steak that's the recipe here: cherry tomatoes are broiled and combined with onions, chiles, and cheese to create a warm salad. It's a tasty side dish, but I have some quibbles.

Tyler Florence instructs the cook to preheat the oven broiler and a grill or grill pan. If you're using a grill pan, you may want to cook the tomatoes under the broiler, since you may not have enough space to cook them in the pan. But if you're going to heat up an outdoor grill, it makes no sense to cook the tomatoes in the oven. Use the grill to cook the tomatoes as well; it's more energy efficient and doesn't heat up your house. Wrap the tomatoes in a foil packet, or cook them in a grill basket or grid with small mesh. Easily done, and I find it a bit of an oversight that the original recipe doesn't make this suggestion.

You should use the smallest, sweetest tomatoes you can find. Florence's recipe calls for cherry tomatoes, but if you can get grape tomatoes, they're even better. Florence doesn't say to seed the serrano chile, so it's up to you: if you want the salad to be very spicy, leave the seeds in, otherwise take them out for a milder flavor.

The beef tenderloin is really more of a suggestion than anything else. You could easily grill up whatever cut of meat you're in the mood for or is on sale at the market. Try rib eyes or porterhouse, and grill for about 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium rare.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 to 20 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

4 pints grape or cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for drizzling and rubbing
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 2 limes
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
1 serrano chile, sliced thin (seeded if desired)
1/2 bunch chopped fresh cilantro, plus leaves for garnish
1/2 pound queso fresco or feta cheese, crumbled
1 4-pound beef tenderloin, or 8 rib eye, porterhouse, or other steaks, about 6 to 8 oz. each

Heat the broiler. Put the cherry tomatoes onto baking sheets, drizzle some olive oil over them, and season with salt and pepper. Broil until the tomatoes burst, about 4 to 5 minutes. Alternatively, place the seasoned tomatoes in a foil packet or mesh grill basket and place on the hot grill. Cook until burst and starting to blacken, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven or grill and allow them to cool a bit. In a large bowl add the 1/4 cup olive oil, lime juice, onion, chile, chopped cilantro, cheese, and the tomatoes. Mix carefully to avoid breaking up the tomatoes too much. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper; set aside.

Heat the grill or a grill pan to medium. Rub the meat with some olive oil and season it generously with salt and black pepper to taste. Grill the tenderloin, browning it on all sides, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat reads 130 degrees F for medium-rare, about 20 minutes. Remove the meat to a cutting board, cover it with aluminum foil, and allow it to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing. (If using smaller individual steaks, cook for approximately 4 to 6 minutes per side for medium rare, depending on thickness. Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes after grilling before serving.)

Slice the meat thinly, place it on a platter, and spoon on the cheesy tomato dressing. Garnish with a bit of olive oil and cilantro leaves.



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