These 2 holiday mains are not just stunning. They cook in under an hour

Roasted salmon with miso cream (left) and roasted beef tenderloin.(Photos: NYTimes)
Often heard as a Christmas carol, Christina Rossetti’s poem “In the Bleak Midwinter” imagines the Nativity scene and closes with the question of what to bring as an offering.اضافة اعلان

She first answers, “If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb,” and concludes by offering her heart. Both gifts — a prized feast and love — make for the ideal holiday meal no matter the celebration.

A challenge for the home cook is that most dinner party main dishes take time away from family and friends. Turkeys, hams, and rib roasts require hours in the oven and sometimes demand basting or glazing. But these two delicious dishes, a miso-cream salmon and beef tenderloin with horseradish sauce, roast one after the other in under an hour, to balance the craving for a special centerpiece with the desire to chat over cocktails or watch kids play with their new gifts.

You do not have to prepare both the salmon and the tenderloin, but together, they feel especially festive and offer an option to those who do not eat red meat. (For vegetarians, try a stunning gratin). The tenderloin roasts for less than half an hour; then, to arrive at a juicy medium-rare doneness, it rests at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes, which is just the amount of time the salmon takes in the oven to come out silky. All they need to feel like a full meal are a simple salad and bread, but you can ask guests to bring side dishes or throw together some effortless ones yourself.

Even though a whole salmon fillet cut from one side of a fish is much larger than individual pieces — and looks far more elegant — it doesn’t take much longer to cook.

Emma Teal Privat, a founder of Salmon Sisters with her sister, Claire Neaton, in Homer, Alaska, said that it roasts “really quick” and warns against overcooking to prevent dry salmon. They see an uptick in sales of whole fillets for the holidays because the cut is “really impressive, looks great on the table and it’s so easy to just put it in the oven.”

To ensure that salmon stays moist in the dry heat of the oven, I slather the fish with crème fraîche, which adds richness without sliding off the top the way oil and butter do. Shiro miso stirred into the mix offers a butterscotch savoriness. The same ingredient pairing is warmed into a creamy sauce, with citrus juice swirled in at the end for fruity acidity.

It is a sauce that could save anything, but it will not have to rescue the fish if it comes out of the oven at the right time. The best way to see if salmon is done is to slide a thin-bladed paring knife or metal cake tester into the thickest part of the fish. It should glide in with only a little resistance and, when it comes out, it should feel warm, not hot. If you prefer more precision, you can use a meat thermometer, looking for 50°C for medium-rare and 50°C for medium.

While you do not need a meat thermometer for the fish, you definitely do for the beef tenderloin. Cindy Garcia, a butcher who won a gold medal at an international butchering competition, said that tenderloin is an expensive cut because there are only two on a cow, each one a muscle that starts beneath the ribs and runs along the spine down the back. Because cows stand on all fours, those muscles aren’t used much, yielding supremely tender meat.

To preserve and highlight that buttery texture, the whole tenderloin should be roasted so that the outside browns (but does not form a tough crust), and the center ends up evenly rosy. With a good meat thermometer, you’ll know exactly when you’ve hit the right temperature — 45°C to 51°C for medium-rare.

Getting the outside of the tenderloin to brown doesn’t require searing, which is challenging given the length of the cut and can risk overcooking. Instead, a combination of soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and sugar mixed with butter helps the meat develop color and caramelize in the oven. It also bolsters the mild flavor of the meat, as does a classic horseradish sauce.

Because tenderloin is lean, it still tastes great at room temperature (to put it bluntly, there is no congealing fat). And because salmon is fatty, it maintains its rich flavor as it cools. So even though these dishes come together quickly, they can be lingered over on a long evening with those you love most.

Roasted beef tenderloin. 

Roasted Beef TenderloinBy Genevieve Ko

A whole beef tenderloin is a holiday splurge, an ideal party centerpiece that tastes as good hot as it does at room temperature. It also looks impressive, especially if it’s evenly rosy through the center and nicely browned on the outside. To achieve that, a combination of soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and sugar is mixed with butter to slather all over the meat. It helps create a caramelized yet delicate deep-brown crust without the hassle of searing and gives the mild meat a more complex savory flavor. So does a classic creamy horseradish sauce. This cut would also be delicious with herby chimichurri or a rich béarnaise and goes with just about any holiday side dish. An untrimmed beef tenderloin costs a lot less than one that comes peeled and tied. Follow the tip to prepare it yourself and use the trimmings to make stock.

Yield: 8 to 12 servings

Total time: 2 hours, plus trimming and tying, if needed


1 whole (2kg) beef tenderloin, peeled (trimmed) and tied (see tip)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Coarse sea or kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper

Chopped parsley, for serving (optional)

Horseradish sauce, for serving


1. Take the beef out of the refrigerator an hour before cooking so that it will cook evenly and not end up overdone on the outside while the center is still cold. Pat it very dry if it isn’t already.

2. Heat the oven to 232°C. Line a large sheet pan with foil. Place the beef on the pan.

3. Mix the butter, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and sugar in a small bowl until the sugar dissolves. Pour the mixture all over the beef, using your hands to spread it around. Sprinkle the beef generously with salt (about 2 teaspoons) and press in an even coating of pepper (about 1 teaspoon).

4. Roast until browned and a meat thermometer inserted in the center registers 48°C to 51°C degrees for medium-rare, 25 to 30 minutes. (Start checking at 20 minutes to make sure you do not overcook the meat.) Use the foil to lift and transfer the beef with its juices to a cutting board. Let rest for 15 to 20 minutes. The internal temperature of the meat will rise a few degrees as it rests.

5. Transfer the beef to the cutting board, reserving the foil with its juices, and cut the beef into slices for serving. Arrange on a serving platter and pour over all of the juices from the foil and cutting board. Sprinkle with parsley, if you would like, and serve with the horseradish sauce.


Beef tenderloin usually comes “peeled,” which means all of its excess fat and silverskin have been trimmed and the meat is tied at 2.5cm intervals. You can ask the person at the meat counter to do it for you if it has not been prepared, or you can trim and tie it yourself at home. To trim the meat, pull or slice off all excess fat and gristle, then slice off any silverskin, the thin, silvery white skin covering the meat. To tie the meat, tuck 10 to 12cm of the thin, tapered end of the tenderloin under the meat to match the thickness of the other end of the meat and create an even cylinder. Use kitchen string to tie the meat at 2.5cm intervals. This will hold the tucked-in end in place and also help the meat maintain its cylindrical shape while roasting.

Horseradish SauceBy Genevieve Ko

A combination of cream, sour cream and mayonnaise temper the sharp bite of horseradish in this tangier take on the classic cream sauce. It is especially delicious with roasted beef tenderloin or prime rib and becomes even more flavorful after a day or two in the refrigerator. This makes a lot of sauce in case the roast is especially large and everyone sauces their meat generously. Any leftover is fantastic in sandwiches or slathered over roasted salmon.

Yield: About 2 1/4 cups

Total time: 5 minutes, plus at least 45 minutes’ resting


1 jar prepared horseradish, drained well (scant 1 cup)

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon coarse sea or kosher salt


Mix the horseradish, cream, sour cream, mayonnaise, sugar, and salt in a bowl until well blended. Let stand until ready to serve, about 45 minutes. Or, cover and refrigerate for up to three days before serving.

Roasted salmon with miso cream.

Roasted Salmon with Miso CreamBy Genevieve Ko

A whole fillet of salmon cut from one side of a fish looks spectacular but takes only a little longer to cook than smaller portions. Crème fraîche spread all over the fish keeps it moist as it roasts and adds a savory richness when a dollop of miso is stirred into the mix. That same pair is gently warmed into a sauce that’s finished with tart citrus juice so that it tastes both creamy and light. This can be served simply with salad and bread or be offered with other vegetables, like potatoes, asparagus, or Brussels sprouts.

Yield: 8 servings

Total time: 30 minutes


1 whole salmon fillet (skin on or off), patted dry if needed

Coarse sea or kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ichimi togarashi or ground cayenne

1 cup crème fraîche or sour cream

2 tablespoons shiro (white) miso (see tip)

2 teaspoons turbinado or other coarse raw sugar (optional)

2 limes

1 tablespoon yuzu or lime juice

Toasted white sesame seeds, for sprinkling


1. Heat the oven to 200°C. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper or foil.

2. Place the salmon on the prepared pan skin (or flat) side down at an angle, if needed, to fit. Sprinkle with salt (about 1 teaspoon) and the togarashi.

3. In a small saucepan, stir 1/4 cup crème fraîche with 1 tablespoon miso until well blended. Scrape onto the fish (save the pan without washing it), then spread the sauce in an even layer. If you like a little sweetness with your salmon, sprinkle it with the sugar.

4. Roast the salmon until a thin-bladed paring knife slides through the thickest part with only a little resistance, 15 to 20 minutes. When you remove the blade from the fish and touch it, it should feel warm.

5. While the fish roasts, stir the remaining 3/4 cup crème fraîche and 1 tablespoon miso until smooth in the same saucepan. Set over low heat and warm, stirring occasionally, until steaming and tiny bubbles form around the edges, about five minutes. Do not let the mixture boil. Turn the heat to the lowest setting to keep warm.

6. Using the parchment or foil, lift the roasted salmon onto a serving platter, then slide the parchment or foil out from under the fish. Zest the limes all over the fish, then squeeze 1 tablespoon juice, if using lime juice. Stir the yuzu or lime juice into the miso cream, then transfer to a serving bowl to serve alongside the salmon. (Or, if your salmon is skinless, pour the sauce around the salmon.)

7. Sprinkle the salmon with sesame seeds. Cut the zested limes into wedges and serve with the fish.

You also can use red or brown miso, but they are both saltier. If using, you will want to sprinkle the salmon more lightly with salt.

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