Preparing the perfect steak can be daunting. I shied away from cooking filet mignon indoors for a while because I’ve either ruined them or they turned out just sub-par and chalky grey compared to the rich color and crisp crust of steak grilled on our outdoor grill.
But after trial and error, along with watching a lot of Alton Brown, I am not afraid to prepare them indoors. You will need your filets along with sea salt, pepper, real butter, olive oil, tongs and a cast iron skillet.
Purchase good meat! Try to buy grass-fed or partially grass-fed if possible. I realize filet mignon is expensive, so what I do is buy grass-fed filets from my local Farmers Market (in my case Atherton Market in Dilworth) or Costco. Costco’s come four in a package, but they are massive. So I cut them in half horizontally, creating 6-8 filets. Prices range from $32-$40, but if you can get 6-8 filets from it, we are talking as little as $4 a filet! Then I just freeze the meat I’m not using in individual ziplock freezer bags.
Preparing the filets. I like to rinse my filets off with a little water and pat them dry with paper towel. If you are using thawed filets, make sure they are room temperature before cooking them! Brush them with olive oil (I mix a little minced garlic in with the olive oil) and then salt and pepper both sides.
Broil baby, Broil! Turn on your oven’s broiler and place an oven rack 8 inches below the broiler. Put a cast iron skillet on the rack to heat up with the oven. Once the skillet is heated, transfer it to your stove top and turn the burner to high heat. Using the tongs, carefully place the olive oil coated steak into the cast iron skillet on the stove top. Cook the steak 3 minutes on each side. Then turn off the burner and carefully transfer the skillet back to the oven. Broil the steak for another three minutes on each side. (Note, this cook time will give you a nice medium rare filet mignon. Add an additional 1-2 minutes on each side for medium).
A word on safety: The pan is obviously extremely hot and you are transferring it from the oven to a flaming stove top…and back again. You need to be diligent about watching the steak AND making sure there are no kids in the kitchen with you.
Finishing Touches: I like to add just a little pat of real butter (I like Organic from Trader Joes or pasture butter from Atherton) to my fiance’s steak and plate up immediately with the sides I’ve prepared in advance. Yum!