A juicy ten­der­loin with a pesto swirl

Some­times a more el­e­gant type of party is in or­der for sum­mer fun

The Hamilton Spectator - - FOOD - DAVID TANIS

For many, a sum­mer gath­er­ing means meat on the grill, in the form of burg­ers, chops, ribs or sausages.

I’m all for those, but some­times a more el­e­gant type of party is in or­der, one with a table­cloth, china, real glasses and sil­ver­ware — a din­ner ta­ble moved out­doors.

If you’re head­ing in that di­rec­tion, con­sider grilling a beef ten­der­loin roast with zesty, gar­licky pesto swirled in­side. Not a whole beef ten­der­loin, though. I’m talk­ing about a cylin­dri­cal cen­tre-cut chunk.

You’ll need to visit a butcher for that, since it is a some­what spe­cial re­quest, a cut of meat not nor­mally kept at the ready. Ask for a nice three- to four-pound roast from the mid­dle of the ten­der­loin.

To achieve the spi­ral ef­fect, the roast will need to be but­ter­flied into a flat rec­tan­gu­lar shape. Of course, you can ask the butcher to do it for you. But it’s re­ally not very dif­fi­cult to do, and a fun project if you’re up for it. This is not the stan­dard but­ter­fly tech­nique, how­ever. In­stead of slic­ing part way through a fat steak, say, and lay­ing it flat like an open book, here we grad­u­ally flat­ten a larger cut for more sur­face area.

Here’s how: po­si­tion the meat on a cut­ting board so it is per­pen­dic­u­lar to the board. With a sharp knife, make an inch-deep in­ci­sion along the length of the roast. Then use a saw­ing mo­tion as you con­tinue to cut, mov­ing the knife down and to the left; with your fin­gers, be­gin to pry open the roast. Con­tinue cut­ting, flat­ten­ing the meat as you go. As if by magic, you will quickly pro­duce a large rec­tan­gu­lar piece. Con­grat­u­late your­self. Don’t worry if it looks a lit­tle ragged; it will be pounded with a mal­let to an even thick­ness.

The pesto I use has green olives and sharp pecorino in ad­di­tion to pars­ley, basil and gar­lic, adding body, tex­ture and hearty flavour (a few an­chovies would also be a nice ad­di­tion). Smear the pesto over the meat, roll the whole af­fair like a rug back into a cylin­dri­cal shape and tie it se­curely with twine. You can do this sev­eral hours ahead of the meal or even the day be­fore serv­ing it.

As the roast cooks over hot coals, the min­gled smoke and herbs re­lease the most heav­enly aroma. As with all roasts, you must let it rest be­fore slic­ing. If you wish, let it cool com­pletely.

I’ll ad­mit to cook­ing mine on a stove­top grill and fin­ish­ing it in the oven one re­cent rainy day, an­other per­fectly good op­tion.

PHO­TOS BY JOHN KARSTEN MO­RAN, NYT

For a more el­e­gant out­door sum­mer gath­er­ing, a grilled and roasted beef ten­der­loin is a good al­ter­na­tive to grilled burg­ers, sausages or ribs.

To achieve the spi­ral ef­fect, the roast will need to be but­ter­flied into a flat rec­tan­gu­lar shape.

Smear the pesto over the meat, roll the whole af­fair like a rug back into a cylin­dri­cal shape and tie it se­curely with twine.

A beef ten­der­loin stuffed with pesto siz­zles on a stove­top grill be­fore it is fin­ished in the oven.

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