Beef Tenderloin in an Aromatic Salt Crust

By • August 24, 2011 0 Comments

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Author Notes: This is a fantastic way to cook beef. Especially beef tenderloin. You make a salty dough that is infused with herbs and wrap the steak in it. Bake it, then remove the crust. Don't eat the crust! This was probably the tenderest steak I have ever had, and no, it does not get too salty.

The recipe called for 15 minutes in the oven for rare, but I was doubtful and went 20 minutes. The deal is that the steak rests for 10-15 minutes after you pull it from the oven, and the salt is super hot and continues the baking more than, say, putting a plain steak on a cutting board to rest. So, the steak in the picture is medium. I'm a "rare" guy, so I will use a probe in the future, just to make sure. Maybe pulling it out 10 degrees short of my rare temperature.

You want the steaks as dry as possible before wrapping them in the salt dough so the crust doesn't get soggy. Maybe this recipe isn't all grilling and cowboy, but something a bit more hoity-toity. A bearnaise sauce comes to mind, or a marchand du vin.

This is not as difficult as the name implies. The crust recipe makes enough for about 4 pre-cut filet mignons. My blog version is here:


Serves 4

  • 2 cups Kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2/3 cup cold water
  • 2-3 cups AP flour
  • 4 filet mignons (1-2" thick)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
  1. At least six hours before cooking the steaks (and up to 24 hours ahead) combine the salt and herbs in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle.
  2. Add the egg whites and water and mix until thoroughly blended.
  3. Add two cups of flour, a little at a time, until a dough ball forms. You may need to add more flour or water to get a dough that is moist and pliable, but not sticky. Cover the dough and set aside. If waiting overnight, refrigerate the dough then bring back to room temperature.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  5. Pat the beef dry. In a skillet melt the butter with the oil and, when very hot, sear the beef on all sides.
  6. Roll the dough out on a floured board to about 1/4". Cut into circles or squares large enough to wrap around each filet completely. Wrap the filets and seal the seams well.
  7. Baste the dough with an egg wash made from the egg yolk and water. Place on an ungreased baking sheet, seams down, and bake for 10 minutes for medium-rare. I recommend using a probe and pulling the steaks out 10 degrees below your desired doneness.
  8. Remove from oven, allow to rest 10 minutes. Remove crusts and discard them. Top steaks with a pinch of ground pepper.

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