I still have a few blog-worthy food items from 2011 to share before moving on to 2012. One of the last new dishes I tried in 2011 were these awesome beef tenderloin mini sandwiches:
These were an appetizer for our last family dinner of the Christmas season, which featured turkey. We love turkey but thought there was room for some red meat as a prelude to the main event. These are very easy to make and are do-able as a 'make-ahead' dish that you can assemble once you are ready to serve. They basically consist of a slice of baguette that is topped with lettuce, thin slices of beef tenderloin, a sour-cream-horseradish-dijon sauce, capers and shaved Parmesan cheese.
The sauce as called for below includes horseradish. I played it safe and didn't include the horseradish (I wasn't sure how many people might be put off by this ingredient). Next time I think I would definitely include it. I was worried it might be too hot with the horseradish (I've had some very pungent horseradish experiences!) but a small hit of horseradish would have made these little morsels even better, in my opinion. I also couldn't find watercress so just substituted some fresh leaf lettuce, which looked the part and is so mild I knew it wouldn't ruin the overall taste.
I think I cooked my beef about twice as long as called for in the original recipe, about 20-30 minutes. I'm not very confident when it comes to pan-frying meat, and I wanted to make sure I didn't make anyone sick with under-done beef! My thermapen was invaluable in preparing this dish - I kept it handy and made sure the beef got to medium-well in the centre before I took it off the heat. The slices from the end of the tenderloin were more well-done but that didn't stop them from being eaten. I cooked and sliced the beef ahead of time (and put the sauce together to chill) then took these ingredients, along with a fresh baguette, lettuce, cheese and capers with us to our hosts. To serve I sliced up the baguette, added some lettuce, layered on the beef (2 slices, very thin), dabbed with sauce/capers and then finished with a Parmesan curl. Mmmmm. Just thinking about these is making me hungry!
2/3 cup fat free sour cream
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 (1 1/2-pound) beef tenderloin, trimmed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 cups trimmed watercress (about 1 bunch)
1 (8-ounce) French bread baguette, cut diagonally into 16 slices
2 tablespoons capers
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shaved fresh Parmesan cheese
Combine first 4 ingredients, stirring well with a whisk. Cover and chill.
Secure beef at 2-inch intervals with twine. Sprinkle beef with pepper. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; coat pan with cooking spray. Add beef to pan; cook 15 minutes or until desired degree of doneness, turning frequently. Let stand 15 minutes. Cut into 16 slices. Sprinkle with lemon juice.
Arrange watercress evenly on bread slices. Place 1 beef slice and about 1 tablespoon chilled sauce over each bread slice. Arrange capers and cheese evenly over sauce.