Poor, poor filet. It’s been sitting in freezer since (*gasp*) Valentine’s day. We bought a pack of 4, cooked up two of them, and planned to save the rest for another special occasion. Well, that didn’t roll around until Ben’s birthday (the day after Ben’s birthday, to be exact). I told him I’d make the filet, and I set about finding a recipe I though we’d both enjoy. My friend Laura was nice enough to share the recipes for the filet and the finishing sauce. I know that a true steak purist would scoff at the though of sauce on a filet, but we really enjoyed the flavor combinations here. And, I must say, I think I finally understand the appeal of a good filet. Most steaks I find difficult to chew and swallow and thus just don’t really get enjoyment out of eating them. Maybe this is because I grew up only being exposed to sirloin tip and London broil. But a tender filet that almost melts in your mouth… yes, I finally get it!
Pepper-Crusted Filet Mignon
5 tablespoons black peppercorns , cracked
5tablespoons olive oil , plus 2 teaspoons
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1. Heat peppercorns and 5 tablespoons oil in small saucepan over low heat until faint bubbles appear. Continue to cook at bare simmer, swirling pan occasionally, until pepper is fragrant, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. When mixture is room temperature, add salt and stir to combine. Rub steaks with oil and pepper mixture, thoroughly coating top and bottom of each steak with peppercorns. Cover steaks with plastic wrap and press gently to make sure peppercorns adhere; let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position, place rimmed baking sheet on oven rack, and heat oven to 450 degrees. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in 12-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until faint smoke appears. Place steaks in skillet and cook, without moving steaks, until dark brown crust has formed, 3 to 4 minutes. Using tongs, turn steaks and cook until well browned on second side, about 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and transfer steaks to hot baking sheet. Roast 3 to 5 minutes for rare, 5 to 7 minutes for medium-rare to medium. Transfer steaks to wire cooling rack and let rest, loosely tented with foil, for 5 minutes before serving.
Port Cherry Reduction
Makes about 1 cup
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup dried tart cherries
1large shallot , minced (about 3 tablespoons)
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1. Combine first five ingredients in medium saucepan;simmer over medium-low heat until liquid has reduced to about 1/3 cup, about 30 minutes. Set aside, covered.2. While steaks are resting, reheat sauce. Off heat, remove thyme, then whisk in butter until melted. Season with salt to taste.