Feast on filet mignon today
“If wishes were filet mignon, we’d always eat well at dinner.” These wise words expressed by American author Dean Koontz seems most appropriate for the special occasion. Today, August 13, is National Filet Mignon Day, and in honour of the premium palate experience, Food decided to beef up the celebrations by giving more insight into this exquisite dish.
Considered the crème de la crème of meat, filet mignon is a speciality cut of beef. According to Jamaican-Canadian chef, Noel Cunningham, filet mignon, usually from a steer or heifer, is a steak taken from the smaller end of the portion of the beef tenderloin. “Since the filet mignon comes from the most tender portion of the tenderloin, it’s one of the most prized cuts of beef. Therefore, that makes this steak the most expensive out of all the other parts of the beef,” he explained to Food.
With that in mind, let’s put on those aprons and jump straight into chef mode. The usual method of preparing filet mignon, Chef Cunningham noted, is by cooking it on high heat by either grilling, pan-frying, broiling or roasting. “The best way is to sear it on high heat with the oil smoking hot on both sides for at least four minutes, then finish it in the oven to the desired doneness.” He highlighted that you don’t want to serve your steak over 155 Fahrenheit. The filet mignon, like steak, can be done rare or medium rare, dependent on the preferences of your taste buds. If you would prefer your filet mignon rare, the good chef recommends aiming for an internal temperature of 120-130°F, to achieve the juiciest stage of cooking. A medium-rare filet mignon, he says, will go a little higher and should have an internal temperature of 130-135°F, offering a little more resistance when poked. “Keep in mind that carryover cooking from resting the meat can increase the internal temperature by 5°F. You always rest your steak after cooking to maintain the juice,” he added. The juicier the filet mignon, the greater the flavour.
Because filet mignon has a low level of fat, chefs oftentimes wrap it with bacon during the cooking process to add fat. “The bacon is wrapped around the fillet and pinned closed with a wooden toothpick. The bacon adds flavour and this wrapping technique keeps the filet from drying out.” If you are not a pork lover, Chef Cunningham advises that you add herbs and knobs of butter to the pot while you are searing the meat, and use a spoon to baste the meat, while continuously pouring the melted butter over the meat.
Restaurants, he pointed out, will take a fancier route by preparing filet mignon and serving it in a cognac cream sauce, with herbed butter on the top, in a mushroom sauce or in a simple red wine reduction. So how do you plan to observe National Filet Mignon Day? Might we suggest enjoying a nice evening feasting on your favourite filet mignon recipe with family and friends. You can either try your hand at one of the many recipes online for yourself or dine out; take out is also available. Happy eating!