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Yesterday morning, hubby’s family – parents, grandfather, and aunts, arrived in St. Peter Ording for the holidays.  In tow, they brought with them an *extraordinary* amount of food – meat, fresh veggies, herbs, chocolate, wine, and meat (yes, the meat deserved a repeat mention).  It was, however, quite timely as hubby and I did a pretty good job of ravaging the fridge and were down to our last scraps.  Blame it on the cold weather.

Amongst the motherlode was probably half a cow – special Galloway meat that I soon learned came from one hairy beast.  We tackled one (out of three) of the beef tenderloins for dinner, carving the meat into smaller filets after cooking.  It was delish!  Lean, tender and juicy.

With such an abundance of fresh produce that hubby’s mother carefully curated, we accompanied the filets with a fresh tomato and fennel salad.  Of course, this was after a  tomato tasting, necessary to determine which of the three varieties to use in the salad – cherry, vine-ripened, or roma.  Ah, decisions decisions.

Which tomato to choose?

Garlic Infused Beef Filet with a Citrus Horseradish Sauce (adapted from Melissa Clark for New York Times’ “Garlicky Beef Tenderloin with Orange Horseradish Sauce”)

Ingredients (serves 6):

  • 1 (~2 kg or 4-pound) beef tenderloin
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried or chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Citrus Horseradish:

  • 2 cups crème fraîche
  • 1/4 cup white horseradish
  • Grated zest of 1/2 a citrus – lemon, orange, or (what I had on hand) grapefruit
  • sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

At least two hours prior to cooking, season the tenderloin all over with the salt, pepper, rosemary and chopped garlic. Cover the meat and refrigerate.

Allow the meat to come to room temperature one hour before cooking. Preheat oven to 230 degrees C (~450 degrees F). In the meantime, remove as much of the garlic as possible from the marinated meat since the garlic will burn.

Marinate filet with chopped garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper.

Scrape garlic off the filet just before cooking.

Over hight heat, place a few tablespoons of olive oil into a large dutch oven.  Once the oil is hot, add the tenderloin and brown all over, ~4-5 minutes per side.   Following, place the dutch oven, uncovered, into the oven and roast for 10 minutes (for medium-rare).  Allow the meat to rest for ~10 minutes before slicing.

Allow filet to rest for ~10 minutes before carving.

For the dressing, combine and whisk together ingredients for the citrus horseradish sauce.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Plate a generous helping of the dressing alongside each beef filet.

Fresh Tomato and Fennel Salad (adapted from Eating Well, July/Aug 2007, “Tomato Fennel Salad”)

Ingredients (serves 6):

  • ~15 small vine ripened tomatoes, cut into 1/6 wedges
  • 1/2 bulb of fennel, thinly sliced
  • a few sprigs of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1/8 cup while balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Combine tomatoes and fennel in a large salad bowl.  Toast pine nuts in a skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant and slightly brown, add to salad.  Whisk together oil, vinegar, salt and pepper; adjust vinegar, salt and pepper according to taste.  Dress salad with a three to four heaping tablespoons of the dressing to start, add more according to taste.  Finally, sprinkle chopped parsley and give the salad one final toss.

Regardless of how hairy the cow, dinner turned out pretty great, with smiling faces and happy stomachs all around.

(A special thanks to our guest photographer, my father-in-law, Herr Karsten.)