This roast beef tenderloin looks glamorous and tastes amazing, yet it's practically foolproof. The meat gets its deeply browned exterior in the oven at a single temperature; no pre-searing or fussing with different temperatures necessary. Even better: The deeply flavoured, thyme-infused red wine sauce can be made days ahead, so there's no last-minute panic when it comes time to serve.
Though you can follow this procedure with almost any tender cut of beef (and with chicken breasts, if that direction appeals to you), it's a perfect treatment for tenderloin medallions (filet mignon). (Photo: Craig Lee for The New York Times)