If you’re looking for a tender, juicy, and flavorful steak, filet mignon is the perfect cut for you. This tenderloin steak is the most prized cut of beef, and for good reason. It’s known for its buttery texture and subtle flavor that melts in your mouth. In this article, we’ll walk you through how to cook the perfect filet mignon with step-by-step instructions and tips for achieving a juicy, flavorful steak every time.
What is Filet Mignon?
Before we dive into the recipe, let’s first discuss what filet mignon is. Filet mignon comes from the tenderloin, a long, narrow muscle that runs along the spine of the cow. Because this muscle doesn’t get much exercise, the meat is incredibly tender. The term “filet mignon” is French and translates to “dainty fillet.” It’s typically cut into 1- to 2-inch-thick steaks and is one of the most expensive cuts of beef on the market.
Choosing the Right Cut of Filet Mignon
When selecting your filet mignon, there are a few things to keep in mind. Look for steaks that are bright red in color with a marbling of fat throughout the meat. The fat should be evenly distributed and not just around the edges. Avoid steaks that have a grayish or brown color or have a strong odor. These are signs that the meat is old or has gone bad.
Preparing the Steak
Before you start cooking your filet mignon, there are a few steps you need to take to ensure the best results. First, take the steak out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for at least 30 minutes. This will help the steak cook more evenly. Then, pat the steak dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Season the steak with salt and pepper on both sides, and let it sit for a few minutes to allow the seasoning to penetrate the meat.
Cooking the Steak
Now it’s time to cook the steak. There are several methods you can use, but we’ll focus on pan-searing and oven-roasting.
To pan-sear your filet mignon, heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat until it’s smoking hot. Add a tablespoon of oil, and swirl it around to coat the pan. Carefully add the steak to the pan, and let it cook undisturbed for 3-4 minutes on one side. Flip the steak, and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes on the other side. Add a tablespoon of butter and a few sprigs of fresh herbs (such as thyme or rosemary) to the pan, and baste the steak with the butter for 1-2 minutes. Remove the steak from the pan, and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.
To oven-roast your filet mignon, preheat the oven to 400°F. Heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat until it’s smoking hot. Add a tablespoon of oil, and swirl it around to coat the pan. Carefully add the steak to the pan, and let it cook undisturbed for 3-4 minutes on one side. Flip the steak, and transfer the skillet to the preheated oven. Roast for 6-8 minutes for medium-rare, or until the steak reaches your desired level of doneness. Remove the skillet from the oven, and let the steak rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Filet mignon is delicious on its own, but you can also serve it with a variety of sides and sauces to complement its flavors. Some classic side dishes to pair with filet mignon include roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, and garlic bread. For a sauce, you can try a simple pan sauce made with red wine and beef broth, or a creamy béarnaise sauce made with butter, egg yolks, and herbs.
Tips for Cooking the Perfect Filet Mignon
Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when cooking filet mignon:
- Don’t overcook the steak. Filet mignon is best served rare to medium-rare to preserve its tenderness and flavor.
- Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the steak. For medium-rare, the temperature should be around 130-135°F.
- Let the steak rest before slicing and serving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a juicier steak.
- Experiment with different seasonings and cooking methods to find your preferred way of cooking filet mignon.
Filet mignon is a delicious and indulgent cut of beef that’s perfect for special occasions or whenever you want to treat yourself to a gourmet meal. By following the tips and techniques outlined in this article, you can cook the perfect filet mignon every time. Whether you prefer pan-searing or oven-roasting, be sure to choose a high-quality cut of meat and let it come to room temperature before cooking. Serve with your favorite sides and sauces, and enjoy the rich, buttery flavor of this luxurious steak.
- Is filet mignon the same as beef tenderloin?
- Yes, filet mignon is a steak cut from the beef tenderloin.
- What’s the best way to season filet mignon?
- Salt and pepper are classic seasonings for filet mignon, but you can also try using garlic, herbs, or a dry rub.
- How do I know when my filet mignon is done?
- Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the steak. For medium-rare, it should be around 130-135°F.
- Can I cook filet mignon on the grill?
- Yes, filet mignon can be grilled over high heat for a delicious smoky flavor.
- How should I store leftover filet mignon?
- Store leftover filet mignon in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.