Cooking a perfect filet mignon is actually really simple, if you know what you’re doing. Follow these key tips to cook a filet that will be better than anything you find at most restaurants:
- The first commandment is thou shalt not use cheap meat. Because most of the flavor of your steak comes from the meat itself, spending a small amount more money on your meat makes an enormous difference in taste.
- Before you cook – or even season – your steaks, you must pat them dry with a paper towel and allow them to rest at room temperature for at least 40 minutes and up to two hours. This allows your steak to cook evenly throughout.
- Season your steak liberally, but simply. Don’t be shy when it comes to salting your steak. Use plenty of salt and pepper to add flavor to the meat and bring out the steak’s natural flavor, but other than that stay away from too many seasonings or marinades. This is expensive steak, after all all. You want it to taste like steak.
- Thou shalt use a cast iron skillet. Cast iron heats the steak evenly and give the steaks a perfect char on the outside while leaving the inside impossibly juicy.
- You must use cooking oil with a high smoke point, like avocado oil, which has a smoke point of 520F, compared to the 320F to 405F smoke point of olive oil. Using oil with too low of a smoke point can result in the oil breaking down, which can impart a burnt or bitter flavor on you steak.
- Finish your steak with butter – or, like in the recipe below – compound shallot butter. Butter has a low smoke point (350F), so make sure to add it at the end for some deliciously rich flavor, but be careful not to let it burn or the taste of your steak will suffer. Alternatively, you can use ghee (clarified butter), which has a much higher smoke point (485).
- Let your steak rest for 10 minutes after cooking. This will allow all the juices to redistribute throughout the steak and prevent them from spilling out onto your plat when you slice in to the meat.
Follow these seven commandments and you’ll have steakhouse quality dinner. Bon appétit!
*Scroll through the photos below for step-by-step instructions for how to make this pan seared filet mignon with shallot butter.
- 2 filet mignons, at least 1-1/2 inches thick
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 whole shallot, sliced thin
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
Season steaks with pepper and add to skillet. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until internal temperature has reached 110F for rare or 130F for medium.