Put down that bottle of A1. Leave the 57 Sauce on the grocery store shelf. Commit to an adventure. Can a sauce originally developed for fish and poultry do real justice to beef? Yes, it can – and then some.
Romesco is one of the world’s classic sauces from the Catalonia region of Spain. It’s a brightly colored sauce that’s exciting to the eye and even more astonishing on the tongue. It is acidic with tomatoes, sweet from red bell peppers, fragrant from loads of garlic, and with the texture and flavor of ground almonds, the sauce makes a summer statement that’s perfect for beef.
It’s much more interesting than any steak sauce and is a welcome departure from the horseradish sauce that we tend to favor with roasted beef. Instead of covering the beef flavor, Romesco sauce plays a foil to the mineral qualities of the meat.
The sauce is also excellent with any grilled fish, and if you are lucky enough to find some cobia, with its buttery, lemon-like taste, the combination is perfect. Soft shell crabs are in season, and Romesco sauce is better than tartar with the cool texture of a fried soft shell or the sweetness of crab. Grilled chicken with Romesco bounces off the tongue in a very pleasant way. Romesco sauce is the answer for a quick weeknight meal that tastes like the weekend. Make a batch of the sauce when time permits and keep it in the refrigerator for a good 10 days.
Another cool use is poured over grilled vegetables, especially zucchini and yellow squash. Since the sauce is good both warm and at room temperature, a grilled veggie platter with the sauce will be a welcome addition at your next potluck.
Pair it with a garlic-studded, grill-roasted beef tenderloin roast, and you have evolved past the land of the norm for your outdoor cooking. This recipe calls for a center-cut piece of fillet, which you can have your butcher cut from whole tenderloin, or if you tuck and tie the narrow end under the loin, you can roast the whole loin using the same process
With Father’s Day on the horizon, tenderloins will be on sale, and this dish is a perfect tribute to dear old Dad.
Laura, are you listening?
Charred Whole Beef Tenderloin with Romesco Sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup raw almonds
1 slice sourdough bread, crust removed
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup roasted red peppers
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 whole beef tenderloin, about 6 1/2 pounds, cleaned of its “chain” and trimmed
6 cloves garlic, sliced thin
12 green onions
PLACE the almonds, bread, garlic, red pepper flakes, roasted red peppers and vinegar in a blender. Pulse to combine and with the machine running, add the oil slowly to make an emulsified sauce. This can be done up to 10 days in advance; refrigerate in an airtight container. Bring to room temperature before using.
USING a boning knife, cut small slits into the beef tenderloin and slide in the slices of garlic. Place on a rack over a roasting pan. Liberally salt and pepper. Let rest at room temperature for at least 45 minutes before cooking.
LIGHT a fire in your grill using your favorite method. Set the grill up for indirect heat. Sear the beef on all sides, over direct heat, about 15 minutes. Move to the beef to the indirect side, add the green onions and close the lid. Roast until the internal temperature is 125 degrees for rare, 140 for medium. Let the roast rest for 10 minutes before slicing. To serve, slice, arrange on a platter and spoon the Romesco sauce over the beef and the roasted green onions. Good warm or at room temperature.
Serve with: A simple but well-dressed salad and a twice-baked potato.
To drink: Choose a big Cabernet.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings.