The premier cut of beef is the Filet Mignon, translated tender fillet. This is the most tender cut of beef, due to the inactivity of the muscle. There should be little fat in and around the steak. That is the reason you often find a piece of bacon wrapped around the filet. I often find that for a medium rare filet with a piece of bacon wrapped around it, the bacon is almost never cooked enough. That’s why I prefer to have a sauce with it.
The way I often cook my filets are to turn the oven up to 375℉. I heat up an oven proof sauté pan and sear the steaks for a few minutes on each side. I then place the pan in the oven to continue cooking until the steaks are medium rare, making sure to turn them once. I then return them to the stovetop, melt 2 tablespoon butter in the pan and spoon it over the top of the filets. I love to serve them with Bérnaise Sauce.
Steak Diane is often found on many of the old school restaurant menus in New Orleans. While a Strip Steak is a great substitution, the filet is the usual cut of choice. In some restaurants, Steak Diane is prepared table side and flambéed. This favorable sauce also works well with thick cut boneless pork chops or venison.
1/2 stick Butter
8 slices of Filet Mignon, about 1/2 inch thick
3 cloves Garlic, chopped
1 small Onion, chopped
2 stalks Celery, chopped
3 sprigs Fresh Parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Salt
3/4 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
3/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 Lemon, juiced
3 drops Louisiana Hot Sauce
Heat oven to 175 ℉.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. When the butter starts to bubble, sauté the filets, turning once, until cooked to your desired degree of doneness. Remove the filets and keep warm in oven. Add the garlic, onion, celery, parsley, salt and pepper. Sauté until the vegetables are tender. Add the Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and hot sauce. Bring to a low boil and simmer until the sauce is thickened somewhat. Return the filets to the pan and cook in the sauce for about 30 seconds. Remove the filets to a serving platter and pour the sauce over them.
This is probably the fanciest steaks that you can eat. Steak au Poivre, in French, is translated Pepper Steak. Most often, this is done with a Filet but other cuts of steaks work well with the sauce. Some recipes have the crackers peppercorns used as a coating for the steak. I like to put them in the sauce. That way, you can have as much or as little pepper with your steak.
Steak av Poivre
4 Filet Mignons, 7 to 10 ounces each
Creole Seasoning to taste
1 tablespoon Butter
1/2 teaspoon Garlic, chopped
1/4 cup Brandy or Apple Cider or Juice
1 tablespoon Cracked Black Peppercorns
1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
Preheat oven to 175℉.
Lightly season the filets with Creole Seasoning. Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and turn the pan to distribute and melt the butter quickly. Put the steaks into the skillet and cook for about 3 minutes per side, for medium rare. If the steaks are thick, cook them on the sides as well as their faces. Remove the steaks from the pan and keep them warm in the oven. Add the garlic to the pan and cook until it is just beginning to brown. Add the brandy or apple cider to the pan and bring to a boil. (Be careful; the brandy might catch on fire, which is alright for the flavor for the dish but it can be dangerous). Use the brandy and a spoon to dislodge and dissolve the browned bits of meat in the skillet. Add the cream and the peppercorns. Bring to a light boil and cook, agitating the pan to mix the ingredients 3 to 5 minutes, or until reduces by 1/3. Place the steaks on warm plates and spoon on the sauce.
While all of these preparations are great with any cut of steak, the filet is even more impressive when served fancy.