Recipe: Beef tenderloin with béarnaise aïoli

Having written one myself, I definitely have a soft spot for cookbooks that pair beer with their recipes. Chef Tonia Wilson published Beer at my Table: Recipes, Beer Styles & Food Pairings as a guide to 35 different beer styles and dishes to go with them.

In her intro to this recipe, Wilson says, “The béarnaise aïoli, with its herbaceous and zippy personality, adds flavour support to the mild-tasting tenderloin, while its silky texture works wonderfully with the meat.”

As a beef cut with a lighter touch, tenderloin is Wilson’s pick for spring. It also works wonderfully for brunch throughout the warmer months.

Sawdust City Brewing, in Gravenhurst, makes several beers that stand out for being amongst the best in their style for Ontario. In the book, Wilson pairs the dish with Henderson’s Best. As an alternative, I think the grapefruit notes in Hali’s Comet (now sold out, but their Juicin’ or Twin Pines would also be apt pairings) plays nicely with the aïoli’s tarragon.


  • 750 g beef tenderloin, trimmed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped tarragon stalks
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tsp white wine vinegar, divided
  • 1 large shallot, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp finely chopped tarragon leaves
  • Lemon slices and tarragon sprigs for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Season the beef generously with salt and pepper. In a large oven-proof skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Sear the beef on all sides until it is dark golden, about 5 minutes per side.
  3. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the beef registers 130 F for medium-rare, about 15 minutes.
  4. While the beef is cooking, in a small saucepan over low heat, warm the butter just until melted, then set aside.
  5. In a second small saucepan, combine the tarragon stalks, 1/4 cup white wine vinegar and shallot. Simmer over medium-low heat until the vinegar is reduced to 1 tablespoonful. Strain the vinegar into a blender, discarding solids.
  6. Add the remaining vinegar, egg yolks, mustard and 1/2 tsp salt to the blender. Pulse until smooth. With the machine running on low speed, slowly drizzle in the melted butter. Pour slowly until the mixture begins to thicken, then continue to slowly drizzle in the butter until it is all incorporated. Scrape the sauce into a small bowl, stir in the chopped tarragon leaves and season with pepper to taste. Set aside until ready to serve. (If not serving right away, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.)
  7. When the beef is ready, let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Garnish with lemon slices and tarragon and serve with the béarnaise aïoli, fries and a green salad.

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