Because it was served at almost every meal, some historians dubbed the 1950s “the meat decade.” After all, the era served up bacon and sausage for breakfast, saw the birth of Whataburger in Texas and celebrated special occasions with dishes like this simple yet sophisticated beef tenderloin served with a dollop of blue cheese butter, published in June 1959. To raise the bar (and add a modern touch or two), enhance the butter with a splash of cognac, roast the meat over sprigs of fresh rosemary or thyme, and garnish with flaky salt. You can also serve the sliced meat with your favorite aioli and roasted new potatoes, or over arugula, with lemon wedges on the side.
Imperial Tenderloin of Beef
1/4 pound blue cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 tablespoons cognac or other brandy
1 beef tenderloin (4–6 pounds)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
4–5 sprigs fresh rosemary (optional)
Flaky salt, for serving
1. Use a rubber spatula to combine the blue cheese, butter and brandy until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a large square of plastic wrap, roll into a cylinder and chill (this can be done up to two days in advance).
2. Drizzle the tenderloin with enough olive oil to lightly coat, and generously season with salt and pepper. Allow the meat to marinate at room temperature at least 30 minutes (or up to 1 hour). Meanwhile, combine the garlic and melted butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, just until the butter begins to sizzle. Remove from heat, stir in Worcestershire sauce and allow the mixture to cool at least 5 minutes.
3. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place the tenderloin on a rack fitted into a roasting pan, tucking the rosemary sprigs under the meat, and brush the entire surface of the tenderloin with the butter-garlic mixture. Roast 45–60 minutes, basting the meat with garlic butter every 15–20 minutes, until a meat thermometer registers 145 degrees. Allow the meat to rest 10 minutes before slicing. Serve warm tenderloin slices drizzled with pan juices, if desired, and topped with a dollop of blue cheese butter (it should melt into the meat) and a sprinkle of flaky salt.