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Real Simple Magazine December 2004/January 2005. When it comes to entertaining, beef tenderloin is always a perfect answer to most menu questions. What to serve at the party? Beef cocktail sandwiches. What to serve at a brunch? Sliced beef with a savory sweet potato galette. What to serve for a holiday dinner? Classic fillet with bernaise sauce. No matter who's at the table - boss, relative, friend - a roasted fillet of beef can be dressed up or down to suite the occasion. The little black dress of meats, it's always classic and practically foolproof. Beef tenderloin is best served rare - 130 degrees F on a meat thermometer. When buying a fillet, request it trimmed and tied. If you have to tie it yourself, tuck a few inches of the thinnest end of the fillet under, then wrap it with butcher's twine at 2-inch intervals.
- Remove the fillet from the refrigerator 30 minutes before roasting to bring it to room temperature. Preheat oven to 500 degrees and position a rack in the center.
- Spread the mustard evenly on all sides of the fillet. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, and thyme. Heat the oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over high heat; the oil should shimmer but not smoke. Brown the fillet on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
- Place the fillet in oven and reduce temperature to 425 degrees. Roast about 25 minutes for rare or until a meat thermometer reads 130 degrees when inserted into the cdenter. (Check the temperature once after about 20 minutes to gauge how far along the fillet is.).
- Remove the fillet from the oven and allow it to rest 10 minutes before slicing.
- Will make enough for 36 hors d'oeuvres, 8 to 10 buffet servings, or 6 for a sit-down dinner.