Filet mignon is a prized cut of meat, known for its tenderness and delicate flavor. It’s no wonder that it’s a popular choice for special occasions and fine dining experiences. But, with the right techniques and a bit of practice, anyone can prepare a delicious filet mignon at home. In this article, we’ll explore the best way to cook filet mignon and provide tips to help you achieve the perfect steak every time.
Selecting the Perfect Filet Mignon
Before you start cooking, it’s crucial to choose a high-quality filet mignon. Here are some tips to help you select the perfect cut.
Choosing the Right Cut
Filet mignon comes from the tenderloin, a muscle that runs along the spine of the cow. This muscle is not heavily used, which makes it incredibly tender. Look for a cut that is 1.5 to 2 inches thick, with a consistent width for even cooking.
Grading the Meat
When selecting filet mignon, consider the USDA beef grades: Prime, Choice, and Select. Prime grade offers the most marbling, followed by Choice and Select. More marbling means a juicier, more flavorful steak, so opt for Prime or Choice grade if possible.
Preparing the Filet Mignon for Cooking
Before you start cooking, make sure to properly prepare your steak.
Bringing the Meat to Room Temperature
Allow the filet mignon to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before cooking. This ensures even cooking and a more tender result.
Seasoning the Steak
Season your filet mignon generously with salt and pepper just before cooking. This will enhance the natural flavor of the meat without overpowering it.
Methods for Cooking Filet Mignon
There are several methods for cooking filet mignon, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Let’s explore four popular methods.
Pan searing is a popular method for cooking filet mignon, as it creates a delicious crust while keeping the interior tender and juicy.
Grilling adds a smoky flavor to filet mignon and can create beautiful grill marks, but it can be more difficult to control the temperature.
Oven roasting is a simple method that requires minimal attention, but it can be harder to achieve a crusty exterior.
Sous vide involves cooking the steak in a vacuum-sealed bag at a precise temperature. This method ensures even cooking and a tender result, but you’ll need to sear the steak afterward to develop a crust.
Pan Searing: The Best Searing: The Best Way to Cook Filet Mignon
After comparing the various cooking methods, we’ve determined that pan searing, followed by a brief stint in the oven, is the best way to cook filet mignon. This technique ensures a beautifully seared crust while keeping the inside tender and juicy. Let’s dive into the step-by-step process.
Gathering Your Ingredients and Tools
To cook your filet mignon using the pan-searing method, you’ll need the following:
- A filet mignon steak, 1.5 to 2 inches thick
- Salt and pepper
- High-heat oil, such as canola or grapeseed oil
- An oven-safe skillet, preferably cast iron
- An instant-read thermometer
- Fresh herbs, such as thyme or rosemary (optional)
Searing the Steak
- Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C).
- Heat your oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add a thin layer of high-heat oil to the skillet.
- Once the oil is shimmering, place the seasoned filet mignon in the skillet. Sear the steak for 2-3 minutes per side, or until a golden-brown crust forms. Don’t move the steak while it’s searing; this will ensure an even crust.
- If desired, add a tablespoon of butter and a few sprigs of fresh herbs to the skillet for extra flavor. Spoon the melted butter over the steak as it cooks.
Finishing in the Oven
- Transfer the skillet with the seared filet mignon to the preheated oven. Cook the steak for 5-7 minutes, or until it reaches your desired level of doneness. Use an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature: 130°F (54°C) for medium-rare, 140°F (60°C) for medium, or 150°F (65°C) for medium-well.
- Carefully remove the skillet from the oven, using oven mitts to protect your hands.
Resting and Serving
- Allow the cooked filet mignon to rest on a cutting board or plate for at least 5 minutes. This helps the juices redistribute, ensuring a more tender and flavorful steak.
- After resting, slice the filet mignon, if desired, or serve it whole. Enjoy your perfectly cooked steak with your favorite side dishes.
Cooking filet mignon doesn’t have to be intimidating. By selecting a high-quality cut, properly preparing the steak, and using the pan-searing method, you can achieve a restaurant-quality filet mignon at home. With practice, you’ll become a master at cooking this luxurious cut of meat.
- How long should I cook filet mignon for?
The cooking time depends on the thickness of the steak and your desired level of doneness. For a 1.5 to 2-inch-thick filet mignon, sear for 2-3 minutes per side, then finish in a 425°F (220°C) oven for 5-7 minutes, or until it reaches your desired internal temperature.
- What side dishes go well with filet mignon?
Classic side dishes for filet mignon include garlic mashed potatoes, sautéed mushrooms, steamed or roasted vegetables, and creamed spinach. Feel free to get creative with your side dishes to complement your perfectly cooked filet mignon.