Nov 13, 2012

Beef Tenderloin with Roasted Asparagus and Red Onion Vinaigrette

There was a time, when I first discovered this online store, back in the time when it sold only books, that I went through severe shopping bouts. And I really want to emphasize severe. To the point where I got two boxes delivered in one week and didn't have a clue as to what cookbooks where inside. 
To be clear, all I bought were cookbooks. Dozens and dozens of cookbooks. That was the end of the 1900's and nothing could stop me from entering the new millennium with a truckload of cookbooks that would take me another thousand years to go through them.

But well, obsessions are obsessions and I've come to terms with the fact that I'm a cookbook and food magazine hoarder. I don't mind really, and you shouldn't either since there's a big chance I can make you acquainted with many books and recipes you didn't know were out there.

Today's simple recipe comes from the great Charlie Trotter
If you have a few years, like me, there was a time when he was the hotshot, miracle maker, ground breaking chef, admired probably by every person in the food industry. Of course his book of at-home recipes made it into my cart and onto my doorstep.

So it's a bit surprising that this is the first and only recipe I ever made from it; yet I made it so many times, every year when asparagus were in season, for many parties, buffet tables, weekend lunches by the pool, you name it. I think so many other cookbooks started piling on my night table that's the reason I never pursued the rest of this one. 
For the record, I have been reading it again in the last couple of weeks and wow, there are so many recipes I want to try it's ridiculous. Guess my taste buds are different now.

This recipe basically involves good ingredients. 
Fresh, firm, in season asparagus, red onion and a good piece of meat. I used tenderloin though I usually gravitate towards rump steak because it's so much flavorful. But the tender beef is spot on here.

The onion is baked almost as a confit, submerged in oil that barely simmers. It comes out tender and juicy, and, when mixed with chives and balsamic vinegar, becomes the simplest vinaigrette. But so full of flavour.
This is a dish that screams spring. Which is exactly what the weather feels like today.

adapted a bit from Charlie Trotter Cooks at Home, by Charlie Trotter

The amount of vinegar, salt, pepper and oil is really up to your personal taste. The amounts I give here are guidelines. I use the largest amount of balsamic vinegar because I´m mad about a vinegar flavor. The same with pepper, I use a lot.


1 medium red onion
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 to 6 Tbs balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs chopped chives, plus more for sprinkling
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 ½ pounds beef tenderloin, at room tº
2-3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound asparagus spears, trimmed
A few cherry tomatoes, for garnish


Preheat oven to 350º.
Peel and cut onion in four pieces. Put in a bowl, add olive oil, cover with aluminum paper and bake for 1 hour, until it's soft. Let cool in the oil. Chop onion very coarsely, add vinegar, chives and season generously with salt and pepper.
In a baking tray lined with parchment paper, arrange trimmed asparagus in single layer. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast until easily pierced with a knife. Reserve.
Cut beef tenderloin in four portions. Season with salt and pepper. Add a few Tbs of olive oil to a skillet and cook meat until browned, about 3 minutes on each side for rare. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes to let juices distribute evenly.
Meanwhile arrange asparagus on four serving plates. Slice meat and arrange on each plate overlapping the asparagus, dividing evenly.
Add some onions on top of the meat. Mix red onion vinaigrette well and drizzle onto each plate. Sprinkle with chives and garnish with halved cherry tomatoes.
Serves 4.


  1. The tenderloin was perfectly cooked and paired so good with roasted asparagus.

  2. My hubby and boys would swoon over this meal! If I have time, I'll make it during Thanksgiving week, when Nick is home :)

    1. I hope they like it, though I thought you wouldn´t have fresh asparagus at this time of year

  3. Wow does this look incredible. That tenderloin looks melt-in-your-mouth. And asparagus - it's just cruel - we won't have fresh asparagus on this side of the globe for months. :)

    1. Well, I had to wait ages for them to appear while looking at gorgeous pics everywhere... now it´s my turn, jaja!

  4. Wow, Paula! This looks and sounds wonderful!

  5. Paula, I haven't visited your new Site so I have some catching-up to do. It's beautifully designed and easy to read. Now it's our turn to be envious. I thought I'd eaten my fill of asparagus but your roasted asparagus looks so delicious. Miss it. It's Winter here and very cold, even though I am back in Nevada. Charlie Trotter was a hot comodity in Chicago and, since I am a Midwestern girl as well as foodie, I also kept up with his career. Did you know he closed his restaurant in early September 2012 and is getting ready to auction off his extraordinary wine cellar. After 25 years, he seems to want to move on. Don't blame him.

    1. Thanks Mary! and yes I had read it closed, can´t believe how many years went by...!

  6. Oh my goodness! This looks amazing, Paula!!! :)

  7. wow! that is one delicious meal!
    have you tried using this vinaigrette on other things like salads? i am curious to try that...hmmmm... :)

    1. I have some left and was thinking the same thing last night. I definitely will try it with other dishes!

  8. Oh goodness - the boyfriend would love this! He is going to be through the roof when I make this for him!

  9. I don't know who Charlie Trotter is, but I adore asparagus - so this dish appeals to me. Looks great.


Your comments make my day! Thanks for taking the time to leave a note.