Slow-Roasted Filet of Beef with Basil Parmesan Mayonnaise

Barefoot contessa tenderloin

Hello there, Vanilla-beaners!

I have a few recipes to share in time for the holidays. This, my first and favorite, was found in my new cookbook, ‘Foolproof’ by Barefoot Contessa.




Barefoot Contessa Fool proof








Out of my vast library of cookbooks, when I have a dinner party to host and want to make an impression, I turn to my Barefoot Contessa cookbooks. Her recipes are usually easy, and accurate, no guesswork, no adding, no taking away. All her recipes are foolproof and all have that wow-factor. I am always guaranteed a crowd-pleaser.

I recently hosted an Oysters and Bubblythemed party. We hired a chef/oyster shucker  who made a variety of oysters – cooked and raw. It was a lot of fun.   Anyway, not everyone is an oyster fanatic who can make a meal out of just oysters and I had a few guests who do not eat seafood at all so I needed a no-fuss meat dish. I found this one and it exceeded my expectations. It was so easy…ridiculously easy and delicious. It was so melt-in-your-mouth tender – you hardly had to chew!  This, along with the “French-fry worthy” basil-parmesan mayonnaise, I just couldn’t keep it to myself!

The day of the party, I had prepare the roast ahead because my oven would be occupied during the party. I thought I’d cook it until rare and then keep it warm in my warming drawer until would be ready to be served. I estimated that the roast would reach medium-rare in the center and medium to well on the thinner end by the time I would be ready to serve it.

So, as parties sometimes go, I was delayed. The oyster-shucker arrived late and the power went out about 3 times for intervals of 10 to 15 minutes at a time. The meat ended up staying in the warming drawer longer than anticipated. I worried that it would dry out or toughen up but to my surprise it was perfect. This is mostly thanks to the slow & low cooking process but quality of meat surely plays a role. I bought my tenderloin at my local Provigo grocery store in Kirkland. I opted to purchase the triple-A grade. It is pricier but well worth it.  However, I was told that the double-A would have, ‘fait l’affaire’ as well.

The mayo deserves a special mention.  Holy good Lord is it delicious.  The fragrant basil and salty parmesan within the creamy mayo base was rewarding to the taste-buds and a happy departure from traditional gravy.  A dollop is all you need but you will want more. We ate it on the side with the beef, then we made ourselves little roast beef sandwiches with it and dipped our fries in it.  During the week that followed I kept trying to find things I could eat it with…sausage?..chicken?…BLT?…hard-boiled eggs?  lol  I put it on everything!

Special tools: a digital instant-read thermometer.

*If you don’t have a digital instant-read thermometer, you should just get one, it will really help take the guess-work out of making meat dishes. You will never end up with a dry or undercooked roast.
** Don’t forget the important step of letting your meat rest for at least 15 minutes before carving (10 mins for steaks). A roast does not have to be served piping hot – that’s what gravy is for! 🙂
Serves 6 to 8


  • 1 whole filet of beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied (4 1/2 pounds)
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 10 to 15 branches fresh tarragon
  • Basil Parmesan Mayonnaise, for serving, recipe follows


Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. 

Place the filet on a sheet pan and pat it dry (all over) with paper towels.  Brush the filet all over with the oil, reserving about half a tablespoon.  Sprinkle it all over with the salt and pepper (it will seem like a lot but believe me, it makes a difference).  Place the tarragon branches around the beef, tying them in 4 or 5 places with kitchen twine to keep them in place, and then brush the tarragon with the reserved oil.roast1

Roast the filet of beef for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, until the temperature registers 125 degrees in the center for rare and 135 degrees for medium-rare.  Cover the filet with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Slice thickly and serve warm or at room temperature with Basil Parmesan Mayonnaise.

Basil Parmesan Mayonnaise:

  • 2 *very fresh extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup freshly & finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup vegetable oil, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil, at room temperature
*Since this recipe contains uncooked egg-yolk, I used the freshest eggs possible. If your eggs in the fridge are nearing the expiry date, I would go out and buy fresh ones. You can’t be too cautious about food-related illness.
Also, keep mayo in the fridge until it is to be served.

Place the egg yolks, lemon juice, Parmesan, mustard, basil, garlic, up to 1 tablespoon salt (add little by little – season to taste), and 1 teaspoon pepper in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process for 20 seconds, until smooth. Combine the vegetable oil and olive oil in a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. With the processor running, slowly pour the oil mixture through the feed tube to make a thick emulsion. Taste for seasonings — the mayonnaise is a sauce so it should be highly seasoned. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use; it will keep for up to a week.

I hope you try this recipe and if you do, please send me your comments.

Happy Holidays!

One response to “Slow-Roasted Filet of Beef with Basil Parmesan Mayonnaise”

  1. I tried the Filet Mignon recipe (minus the mayo as I prepared it for my 83 year old father), and the meat was so tender, none of us could believe it. The kosher salt makes all the difference in the world! And the aroma from the tarragon roasting in the oven was delightful~ I will remake it for my friends with the mayo…………..they will LOVE IT!

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