Valentine’s dinner for many is a perfectly cooked steak which is so incredibly easy to master at home that you will wonder why you ever paid quadruple for one in a restaurant. This year, I’m going to go all out and make filet mignon, served with mashed potatoes and whatever vegetable catches my eye in the produce section.
The steak cooking method described below is a popular “restaurant style” used by many cooks from Ina Garten to hacks like me. One variable seems to be, when to add the butter (not the herb butter which if using, tops the meat just before serving) but the plain butter which infuses some fat into this extremely lean cut of beef. I prefer to add it just before finishing the steaks in the oven as opposed to melting it in the pan with the olive oil before searing. This ensures that the butter does not burn in the scorching hot pan. I use this stovetop to oven method to cook all of my steaks with the only adjustment needed for various cuts being cooking time. I hesitate to stick a meat thermometer in cooking meat (for fear that the juices will run wild) but if that’s what you need to prevent overcooked beef, stick away. There’s a great “touch test” that will have you comparing the feel of your beef with the back of your hand* which works extremely well.
I’m sure that it’s obvious that I borrowed an image to use in the post. Thank you Omaha Steaks. I haven’t cooked filet mignon in awhile and didn’t have a picture on file. I will try to replace it with a photo of my own but no guarantees. I just may get caught up in the Hallmark romance that is Valentine’s Day. You can gag now 😉 Enjoy!
*With your non-dominant hand, make a V shape using your thumb and pointer finger, with the palm of your hand facing down, the fleshy part of the back of your hand at the base of the bottom of that V is where you should be touching. The softness of that part when you are making a very relaxed fist resembles the softness of rare meat. If you were to just slightly tighten that fist by wrapping your fingers around each other loosely, the softness of that part of your hand would resemble medium cooked meat. If you were to make a tight fist, then the softness of that part of your hand would resemble well done.
- 2 10-oz tenderloin beef filets (filet mignon)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbls plain butter
- GARLIC HERB BUTTER (optional)
- ½ stick of butter, softened
- 2 Tbls chopped fresh rosemary, oregano, thyme, tarragon, marjoram-or a combination
- ½ Tbls minced garlic
- Stir in herbs and garlic into softened butter until fully mixed. Spoon the butter onto tin foil doing your best to reshape it to resemble a stick of butter.
- Place in refrigerator until ready to use (it will set up quickly so you can do this right before cooking the steaks, or well in advance).
- Remove 5 minutes before adding to the filet.
- Preheat the oven to 415F.°
- Remove steak from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking, this is to bring the steak to room temperature and ensure your cooking times are more accurate.
- Pat your steak dry with paper towels.
- Brush the steaks lightly all over with olive oil.
- Season both sides generously with salt and pepper, using your fingers to help the seasoning adhere to the meat.
- Heat an oven safe cast iron skillet on high, allowing the skillet to become scorching hot.
- Place the filets face down and sear undisturbed for 2 minutes. Flip the filets and sear for an additional 2 minutes. Sear the sides briefly, as well, giving your filets a nice seared edge.
- Take your skillet off the heat and top each filet with 1 Tbls plain butter. WARNING: The skillet will be hot, handle with oven mitts.
- Transfer your skillet directly to the oven.
- For Rare, bake for 5-6 minutes. Medium Rare, 6-8 minutes. Medium, 8-10 minutes. Remember, depending on the size of the steak, the more or less time it will take. This recipe is ideal for a 8-10 ounce portion.
- Remove filets from the skillet and set on a plate.
- Top each filet with a Tbls of the Garlic Herb Butter, if using, and lightly cover the plate with tin foil.
- Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. This is important to bring your steak to its final serving temperature.
- Rare: 125°F
- Medium Rare: 130°F
- Medium: 140°F
- Well Done: 160°F