Tenderloin and Heirloom Tomato Canapés

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 14

Few cuts of beef are as succulent as beef tenderloin, which, when thinly sliced, makes an elegant canapé topping. Here, in the spirit of summer, the slices are topped with chopped heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil. Although you can serve these bite-size hors d’oeuvres warm, they are best at room temperature.


  • 30 baguette slices, each 1/4 inch thick (about 1 large baguette)
  • 4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 to 2 lb. piece beef tenderloin, trimmed of fat and sinew
  • 1 1/2 lb. mixed heirloom tomatoes
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves


Preheat an oven to 350°F.

Arrange the bread slices in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, turning once halfway through baking, until lightly golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside. Increase the oven temperature to 450°F.

In a small bowl, whisk together 2 Tbs. of the olive oil, 1 1/2 tsp. of the salt and 1 tsp. of the pepper. Brush the oil mixture on all sides of the beef tenderloin. Place the tenderloin on a rack in a shallow roasting pan just large enough to accommodate it.

Roast the tenderloin until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 125°F for very rare to rare, about 20 minutes; 130°F for medium-rare, about 25 minutes; or 135°F for medium, about 30 minutes. Transfer the beef to a cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Carve against the grain into thin slices.

Chop the tomatoes and place them in a colander to drain for 10 minutes. Sort through the basil leaves and set aside 30 small whole leaves. Cut the remaining basil leaves into thin strips.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil, 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Add the tomatoes and sliced basil and turn gently to coat the tomatoes evenly.

To assemble, place 1 or 2 slices of beef on a toasted baguette slice and top with 1 tsp. of tomatoes and a basil leaf. Arrange the canapés on a platter and serve. Serves 12 to 14.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Entertaining with the Seasons (Free Press, 2010).

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