Made Man - February 17, 2012
Bruce Bozzi Jr's Classy Filet Mignon
Filet mignon. There are scarcely another two words in the English language that inspire the same instant images of class. Tell friends you’re making steak and they will cheer. Mention filet mignon and it will barely be out of your mouth before they’re hightailing it to your place. No question, they’re going to be impressed. But once you’ve set the bar, you’ve got to back it up with superior execution. Here’s how.
1. Know Your Cut
Like I said: filet mignon is synonymous with “class” in the steak world. It’s one of the most tender cuts available—you can literally cut it with your fork. The filet comes from the loin of the steer and has a buttery texture with subtle flavor in a compact shape. It’s also relatively healthy (high protein, low fat), succulent and user-friendly—hardly the trickiest thing in the world to prepare.
2. Shell Out for Quality
Along with ribeye, filet mignon is one of the most expensive cuts you’re going to find at the butcher. We serve nine- and fourteen-ounce portions at The Palm. If you’re having friends over, I’d recommend keeping the portions much smaller, closer to four or six ounces. You can serve larger portions if you like, but at twenty dollars a pound, it’s going to cost you. Pair smaller portions with tasty sides and no one is going home hungry.
3. Prep the Beef
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a fan of keeping prep simple. If you read my last article on the New York Strip, you won’t find any surprises here. You don’t need to do much more than massage it with your favorite brand of olive oil and season it with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper. No kidding, that’s all I do. And it’s all you should do as well.
4. Cue Up Salad, Side and Vino
We serve a Gigi salad at The Palm that pairs quite well with filet mignon. Chop up some onions, tomatoes, bacon and shrimp and throw them into a bowl with simple oil and vinegar. The trick here is to really toss it with your hands and coat the ingredients in the oil and some kosher salt. Poach some shrimp, chop them into bite sizes, mix with your ingredients and you’ve got yourself a Gigi. Keep your side simple: Sautee some mushrooms in a light oil. Deelish. For vino, Hirsch Pinot Noir from the Hirsch Vineyards pairs well. At 60 bucks a bottle it’s not cheap, but it’s incredible. Plus, you’re serving filet mignon—why settle for less?
5. Sear and Roast
Cooking a filet mignon isn’t hard, but it is easy to mess up. Place your filets in a skillet over medium to medium high heat and sear both sides for about two minutes to get a nice color and char on the outside. Searing adds texture and flavor. Preheat your oven to 400, then turn down to 350 and roast the filets inside for four to five minutes. Use a meat thermometer and when they reach 120 degrees on the inside, you’ve got perfect crispy-on-the-outside medium rare filet mignon. If you’re seriously thinking about letting them get to well done, head down to the Outback Steakhouse.
6. Finish with a Float
For dessert you don’t have to get extravagant. After you serve something so rich and complex, you can totally get away with serving a basic guilty pleasure: a root beer float. Just drop a scoop or two of your favorite ice cream into some root beer and it’ll be ready to go just as the applause from your mignon masterpiece is dying down.
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