Paillards of Beef Tenderloin with Sweet Potatoes

Pairs Well With

Serves 4


1 ¼ pounds beef tenderloin, thoroughly chilled

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed

Kosher salt

2 teaspoons freshly cracked black peppercorns

1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

4 - 8 anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry

1 garlic clove, crushed and minced

1 shallot, chopped

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, minced (optional)

Parsley sprigs, for garnish


Using a very sharp knife, cut the beef into four equal crosswise slices.

Set a sheet of parchment or wax paper on a work surface, spritz it with water and set a piece of beef on it. Top with a second sheet of paper, also spritzed with water, and use a meat tenderizer or French rolling pin to gently pound the meat until it is about ⅛ inch thick. Repeat with all the slices.

Brush the meat all over with a little olive oil, using just a tablespoon, and season with salt and pepper, using all the cracked peppercorns. Set on a plate, cover with wax paper and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Fill a saucepan half full with water, add a tablespoon of salt and the sliced sweet potatoes and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently until the sweet potatoes are tender but not mushy, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drain thoroughly and keep hot.

Meanwhile, put the anchovies and garlic into a suribachi and crush into a paste. Add the shallot and incorporate it into the paste. Stir in the lemon juice and the remaining olive oil, taste and correct for salt. Add the parsley and the tarragon, if using. Add half of the mixture to the sweet potatoes, cover the pan and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and set an ovenproof plate in the oven.

To finish the dish, set a seasoned cast-iron skillet over high heat until very hot. Add two beef paillards and sear for 15 seconds. Turn and sear for 15 more seconds, then transfer to the plate in the oven. Repeat with the remaining two pieces of beef.

To serve, divide the sweet potatoes among four plates and drape a paillard half on and half off the sweet potatoes. Top with the anchovy paste, garnish with parsley sprigs and enjoy right away.

Michele Anna Jordan is the author of 24 books to date, including “The Good Cook’s Book of Salt & Pepper.” Email her at