Filet Mignon for Two
A browse through this site’s recipe index reveals plenty of beef and steak recipes but nothing completely straightforward. Obviously part of what’s fun about BGSK is that I get to be creative in the kitchen. But that doesn’t mean brisket needs five spice powder or flank steak calls for a miso marinade.
For this year’s second Valentine’s Day post, I decided to share a classic meal to go with post #1, my pomegranate salad. If your idea of a perfect Valentine’s Day consists of bringing the quintessential romantic steakhouse dinner home, you’ll have all the tools to make steak and potato wedges without, on the other hand, producing much of a mess. My idea of romance does not include oil burns on my forearms to the tune of the smoke alarm. I concede that this disaster might form a bond or at least a fond memory.
On all other days that I cook steak, I choose cheaper, more flavorful cuts. I’ll slow-cook brisket til it’s falling-apart and rich or grill flank steak and slice it thin. But on Valentine’s Day, birthdays, and other festive ocassions, I fork over more grocery money than usual (still, of course, far less than actually taking a date out to a steakhouse, and, god forbid, pairing our meat with wine), and buy filet mignons. They’re decadent, and they’re really easy to cook, as you’ll see from my notes below.
Rather than being contrary and complicated, I’ll leave you with this totally classic, evergreen recipe for filet mignons for two. I’ll also adhere to norms when I suggest that you end the meal with chocolate.
Filet Mignon with Roasted Potato Wedges
I use filets cut about 2 1/2 to 3 inches thick. The hardest part of this recipe is grinding so much pepper – the rest is easy! You can make these steaks completely on the stovetop by searing them for 4 to 5 minutes per side. For the sake of not making my kitchen too smoky, I like to use a method adapted from Ina Garten, where you first sear, then bake. The timing works out really well with the potatoes, too. Serve the steak and potatoes with Arugula & Radicchio Salad with Pomegranate, Pecans, and Pecorino. I’ve written the instructions so you can easily make the potatoes and steak at once.
1 baking potato, scrubbed and dried, cut into 12 wedges
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 filet mignons (about 3/4 pound total)
About 1 tablespoon freshly ground coarse pepper
Two thick slices of butter – about 2 tablespoons in total
Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss the potatoes with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the smoked paprika. Arrange in a single layer in a heavy baking pan (the one I used has an iron core). Bake potatoes for 25 minutes, until they are very golden on one side.
Grind the pepper onto a plate. Add several good pinches of salt. Pat the steaks dry and press them into the salt and pepper mixture, coating both sides.
When there are 15 minutes left on the potato timer, heat your cast iron skillet over high heat for 5 minutes. Drizzle in a little olive oil and tilt the pan to distribute. Place pepper-coated steaks in the skillet. Sear for 2 minutes a side.
Lower the heat to 400°F. Then bake for 8 minutes for very rare, 10 for medium rare, 12 for medium. Transfer steaks to a plate and place a slice of butter on top of each steak. Tent with foil and let rest another 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, the timer for your potatoes should have gone off (it’s okay if they cooked at 400°F while the steaks were in the oven). Remove the potatoes. Artfully arrange half the potatoes on a plate and set a steak beside it.