As a general rule of thumb, I am not a fan of the blue veined cheeses. There are SO many different types, and it seems the next one is stronger than the last. Sharp, salty, aged bleu cheese can smell horrid, and is usually appreciated only by those in the industry, or die hard cheese eaters.
There are, of course, a few rare times, when I think bleu cheese compliments a dish with no other substitute. Consider cutting bleu cheese with sweet butter, chives, maybe a little lemon, and melting it over delicious grilled beef tenderloin. Or using the same butter to add the finishing touch to an incredible pasta sauce, with roast red peppers, chicken sausage and spinach. It can, in fact, add the ‘secret’ finishing touch to so many wonderful dishes. Just a hint of that sharp and salty flavor can balance dishes that may tend to be bland, naturally sweet or in need of a boost of flavor.
Tenderloin can be one of those items. I say can, because tenderloin will absolutely stand alone as the king of red meat, and needs nothing to bring out its flavor. Same goes for a grilled bone-in ribeye. But slathering a ‘compound’ bleu cheese butter while cooking or just after cooking will bring a whole new dimension to the beef. It’s the same principal as adding a red wine sauce, peppercorn sauce, herb and brie crust, or anything additional. It’s the additional of flavor. Does it make it better? Not necessarily, but it doesn’t make it worse. It’s different, a different flavor, a different taste. One that I enjoy immensely, and, in my opinion, is one of the few times when bleu cheese truly shows it’s great worth.
Grilled Tenderloin with Bleu Cheese Butter
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Yield: 4 portions
1/4 lb (or 1 stick) unsalted organic butter, room temp
3 oz good quality bleu cheese
1/4 bunch chives, fine chop
cracked black pepper
4 pieces beef tenderloin, 8oz each, trimmed of all fat and silver skin
Using the paddle attachment, mix the butter, cheese, chives, a pinch of salt and black pepper with the cheese in a stand mixer. Mix until butter has almost doubled in volume. Using saran wrap, form the butter into a log, tie tight and refrigerate until cold. Cut into 1/2 inch slices. Keep cold.
Heat a wood grill to medium high heat. Make sure the grates are clean and well oiled. Lightly rub the tenderloins with oil and liberally salt and pepper. Grill on all sides, until tenderloin is mid-rare. Place one slice of the compound butter on the meat while it is still on the grill, during the last 45 seconds to last minute. Remove the beef, taking care not to knock the melting butter off the meat. Serve right away.
I love to serve this with lots of sauteed green vegetables, slathered in garlic.