PEPPERED ROASTED BEEF TENDERLOIN WITH PORT SAUCE (for six to eight)
For the beef:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons black peppercorns, coarsely cracked in a mortar with pestle, or in a resealable plastic bag with a mallet
a 2-1/2 to 3 pound butt end beef tenderloin roast, excess fat trimmed
For the port sauce:
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) chilled, unsalted butter, divided
¼ cup finely chopped shallots
3 tablespoons Cognac or brandy
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 teaspoon coarsely cracked black pepper
1 cup ruby or tawny Port
3 cups beef stock
1. Sprinkle entire surface of beef tenderloin with coarse kosher salt. Place beef on rack set over a large rimmed baking sheet or in a shallow roasting pan. Refrigerate, uncovered, at least 24 hours and up to 36 hours.
2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add shallots and saute until soft, 3 minutes. Add Cognac, rosemary and 1 teaspoon cracked pepper and cook until liquid evaporates, 1 minute. Add Port and bring to a simmer. Add all of the beef stock. Boil until reduced to 1-1/2 cups, about 20 minutes. Strain into medium saucepan, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard solids in strainer. (Can be made 24 to 36 hours ahead. Cool slightly, cover and chill.)
3. Let beef stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour before roasting. Position rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 425*F. Rub beef all over with oil and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cracked peppercorns, pressing to adhere. Return beef to rack in roasting pan and roast until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 125*F for medium rare, about 25 minutes. Remove roast from oven and let it rest for 15 minutes.
4. Bring sauce to a boil and whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cut strings from roast and carve it into ½ inch thick slices. Arrange slices on a platter and serve with sauce on the side.