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GOOD COOKING

The Elegant Grill

August 12, 1993|ABBY MANDEL

If you're tired of hot dogs and hamburgers, but not quite ready to give up the grill, consider an elegant alternative: tenderloin. It's far more flavorful grilled than roasted, and even people who shy away from meat find it difficult to resist a good grilled beef tenderloin.

The beauty of this particular dish is that it can be served hot or at room temperature. The meat is marinated in an herb-mustard-olive oil marinade, then grilled, sliced and served over a bed of onions and red peppers.

The rest of the meal falls into place with the summer harvest. Young green beans are quickly cooked in boiling water and finished up at serving time with butter and fresh dill. Small white potatoes, coated with a hot paprika-olive oil, are completely roasted in the oven and grilled at the last minute just to warm them up and give them a smoky flavor. Corn on the cob roasted in the husks (soaked first in water) on coals and simply buttered is the crowning touch. There's absolutely no need for a conventional salad with these great vegetables.

For dessert, berries over ice cream is elegant and easy. A slightly chilled Beaujolais works very well with the menu.

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Buy the best meat you can get for this dish--it makes a big difference. And add a few pieces of applewood, hickory or mesquite, soaked in water, to the barbecue coals to enhance the smoky flavor.

GRILLED TENDERLOIN ON BED OF HERBED SWEET AND SOUR ONIONS AND RED PEPPERS 1 (3-pound) beef tenderloin, trimmed 2 large garlic cloves, minced 1 large shallot, minced 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 1/4 cup olive oil 1/4 cup minced mixed fresh basil, thyme and rosemary 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon coarsely cracked black pepper Herbed Sweet-and-Sour Onions and Peppers Fresh herb sprigs

Place tenderloin in large heavyweight plastic food bag. In small bowl combine garlic, shallot, mustard, vinegar, oil, basil, thyme and rosemary, salt and pepper. Add mixture to meat in bag. Secure bag close to meat so marinade coats surface of meat. Refrigerate overnight. Turn bag occasionally.

To grill, let meat stand at room temperature 2 hours. Drain meat and reserve marinade. Season lightly to taste with salt. Grill over hot fire until cooked as desired, about 20 minutes for rare meat, basting with marinade and turning as necessary. Can check meat with instant reading thermometer, 120 degrees for rare meat. Let meat stand about 10 minutes before cutting into thin slices.

If serving at room temperature, slice meat as close to serving time as possible. Overlap slices on Herbed Sweet-and-Sour Onions and Peppers. Spoon juices over meat. Garnish platter with assorted fresh herbs. Makes 6 servings.

Each serving, including Herbed Sweet-and-Sour Onions and Peppers, contains about: 411 calories; 2,315 mg sodium; 111 mg cholesterol; 25 grams fat; 8 grams carbohydrates; 36 grams protein; 0.48 gram fiber.

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Prepare this in advance, but be sure to save the addition of the fresh herbs for the final reheating.

Herbed Sweet-and-Sour Onions and Peppers 1 large sweet red pepper, seeded 1 tablespoon butter 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 large Spanish onions, thinly sliced 1 tablespoon sugar 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1/2 teaspoon salt 3 tablespoons minced mixed fresh basil, thyme and rosemary

Cut sweet red pepper into 4 strips. Arrange, skin-side-up, on baking sheet lined with foil. Broil 6 inches from heat until skin is blackened. Transfer to paper bag and seal tightly. Slip off skin when cool enough to handle. Cut into strips and set aside.

Heat butter and oil in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add onions and sugar. Cook until lightly browned, about 10 minutes, stirring often. Add vinegar, mustard and salt. Cook until very tender, about 7 minutes more. Add roasted sweet red pepper. Heat through. Adjust seasonings to taste. Can be made day ahead and refrigerated. Gently reheat and toss in mixed fresh basil, thyme and rosemary. Can be served hot or at room temperature. Makes 6 servings.

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These potatoes are "red hot" from the paprika, chili powder and cayenne pepper. Omit the pepper if you prefer a milder taste. These potatoes can be roasted several hours ahead and kept at room temperature before grilling at dinner time.

RED-HOT GRILLED POTATOES 12 small white new potatoes, about 2 1/4 pounds total 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 1/2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika 3/4 teaspoon chili powder 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1 teaspoon salt

Place potatoes in large plastic food bag. In small dish combine olive oil, paprika, chili powder, cayenne and salt. Add mixture to potatoes. Shake bag to coat potatoes. Transfer potatoes in single layer to foil-lined baking pan. Drizzle remaining mixture from bag over potatoes.

Bake on center oven rack at 400 degrees until just barely tender but still firm, about 25 to 30 minutes, depending on size of potatoes. Turn few times during baking. Can be baked several hours ahead and kept at room temperature.

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