Filet mignon is a luxurious, tender cut of beef that is highly prized for its exquisite texture and taste. This cut comes from the smaller end of the beef tenderloin, making it an ideal choice for special occasions and fine dining experiences. Learn more about filet mignon, its origins, preparation tips, and delicious ways to cook this premium cut.
Origins of Filet Mignon
Filet mignon is French for "tender fillet" or "dainty fillet," an apt description for this delicate, tender cut. It is sourced from the tenderloin, a long, lean muscle found along the spine of the cow. The tenderloin spans two primal cuts - the short loin and the sirloin. Filet mignon comes from the narrower end, where the tenderloin tapers off.
Characteristics of Filet Mignon
Filet mignon is renowned for its tenderness, which can be attributed to the fact that the tenderloin muscle is not heavily used during the cow's life. This results in a fine-grained, buttery texture that melts in your mouth. While it may not be as flavorful as other cuts like ribeye or strip steak, its delicate taste and texture make it highly sought after.
- 2 (8-ounce) filet mignon steaks, about 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
Remove the filet mignon from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes. This will ensure even cooking.
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
Season the filet mignon generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper on all sides.
In a large oven-safe skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot and shimmering, carefully add the filet mignon to the skillet.
Sear the filet mignon for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until a golden-brown crust forms. Use tongs to sear the edges as well.
Reduce the heat to medium-low, and add 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter to the skillet. Once the butter has melted, add the minced garlic, rosemary, and thyme.
Using a spoon, baste the filet mignon with the garlic herb butter for about 1 minute, ensuring even coverage. This will help to infuse the steaks with the rich flavors of garlic and herbs.
Transfer the skillet with the filet mignon to the preheated oven. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes for medium-rare, or until the internal temperature reaches 130°F (54°C) on a meat thermometer. Adjust the cooking time according to your desired level of doneness: 120°F (49°C) for rare, 140°F (60°C) for medium, or 150°F (66°C) for medium-well.
Remove the skillet from the oven and transfer the filet mignon to a plate. Tent loosely with aluminum foil and allow the steaks to rest for about 5 minutes. This will help the juices redistribute within the meat, ensuring a tender and juicy result.
While the filet mignon is resting, prepare the garlic herb butter sauce. In a small saucepan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter over low heat. Add the cooked garlic, rosemary, and thyme from the skillet, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the rosemary and thyme sprigs from the sauce, and discard them. Spoon the garlic herb butter sauce over the rested filet mignon just before serving. You can also add a pinch of freshly ground black pepper and a sprinkle of coarse sea salt to enhance the flavors.
- To serve, plate the filet mignon with your favorite side dishes, such as garlic mashed potatoes, steamed asparagus, or a simple mixed greens salad. Drizzle the garlic herb butter sauce over the steaks for added flavor and moisture.
- Enjoy your delectable pan-seared filet mignon with garlic herb butter, savoring the tenderness and rich flavors of this premium beef cut.