I think my lazy cooking stint is over for awhile. Lately, I have been running across recipes that are 'must-haves', even though they are a little more complicated than my normal weeknight fare. I saw this recipe demonstrated on the new season of Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network. I love, love, love Ina Garten (the afore-mentioned Barefoot Contessa herself). Seriously, I want to be Ina when I grow up. She has impeccable taste. Her home(s)...a spread in East Hampton and a Paris apartment...are to die for, and her food is nothing short of elegant and delicious. The thing I love about Ina is that she makes the hardest, most complicated recipes accessible. Sigh. I wonder if she would adopt me? Anyway, her new season of shows and coordinating cookbook is all about Back to Basics. So far, two episodes have aired, and I have been drooling over both of them. Double sigh.
I found some nice, hand-cut steaks this week at the grand opening of our new local grocery store (which is a big deal around these parts). Even though I don't have Filet Mignons, I am just going to substitute the steaks I do have for this method. Steaks are a rare treat for us, so I decided to pull out all the stops and prepare my beauties just like Ina did on her show. I am even making the Roquefort Chive Sauce that accompanies this dish (recipe to follow). How is that for fancy! Although, I could not find Roquefort, so I am going to substitute a good quality Gorgonzola instead. For side dishes I am making Ina's Cornmeal Fried Onion Rings (recipe to follow in separate post) and steamed broccoli. The broccoli should pair nicely with the cheese sauce. Yum. I am super-excited about dinner tonight. I have already started prepping (and it is not even 2pm yet). I am such a food nerd!
2 (10-ounce) filet mignon
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon fleur de sel
1 tablespoon coarsely cracked black peppercorns
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, optional
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat a large, well-seasoned cast iron skillet over high heat until very hot, 5 to 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, pat the steaks dry with a paper towel and brush them lightly with vegetable oil. Combine the fleur de sel and cracked pepper on a plate and roll the steaks in the mixture, pressing lightly to evenly coat all sides.
When the skillet is ready, add the steaks and sear them evenly on all sides for about 2 minutes per side, for a total of 10 minutes.
Top each steak with a tablespoon of butter, if using, and place the skillet in the oven. Cook the steaks until they reach 120 degrees F for rare or 125 degrees F for medium-rare on an instant-read thermometer. (To test the steaks, insert the thermometer sideways to be sure you're actually testing the middle of the steak.)
Remove the steaks to a serving platter, cover tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes. Serve hot with Roquefort Chive Sauce on the side.
I don't have fleur de sel (fancy French sea salt) so I am going to use kosher salt. Please remember to adjust down the salt quanity if you are not using sea salt or fleur de sel.
Roquefort Chive Sauce
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 ounces French Roquefort cheese, crumbled (4 ounces with rind) (OR substitute Gorgonzola)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
Bring the heavy cream to a boil in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook at a low boil, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has become thick and creamy, about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, add the cheese, salt, pepper and chives and whisk rapidly until the cheese melts.
I will cut the cheese sauce quantity in half. If I make the whole batch, I will end up eating it with a spoon...or bathing in it...or something else really embarrassing.