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For National Filet Mignon Day you have two easy choices: cook it or enjoy it uncooked (yes, raw).
Whole, plated with vegetables and potatoes
Steak sandwich, on a toasted baguette with caramelized onions, or with lettuce and horseradish mayo (blend prepared horseradish into mayonnaise, to taste)
Steak salad, sliced and placed atop a bed of greens with blue cheese dressing; substituted for tuna in a Nicoise Salad; or substituted for ham in a Cobb Salad
The easiest ways to serve cooked filet mignon:
Sliced into carpaccio
Ground into steak tartare
The easiest ways to serve raw filet mignon:
Carpaccio is the absolute easiest.
WHAT IS CARPACCIO?
Carpaccio is the Italian term for raw beef filet (crudo is the term for raw seafood). Typically made from sirloin, the dish was created in Venice in 1963, at the time of an exhibition dedicated to Venetian painter Vittore Carpaccio (1465-1526).
A traditional carpaccio with basil-infused olive oil. Photo courtesy Atlantic Paradise Hotel | NYC.
The carpaccio dish was based on the Piedmont speciality, carne cruda all’albese, created by Giuseppe Cipriani, founder of Harry’s Bar in Venice. Using fine Piedmontese beef (Piemontese in Italian), he originally prepared it for a countess whose doctors had recommended that she eat raw meat. [Source]
It is a very popular first course.
RECIPE: BEEF CARPACCIO
To make carpaccio, buy freshly-cut filet mignon or sirloin from the butcher.
Filet mignon or sirloin
Fine olive oil (infused oil, such as basil or rosemary, is great)
Shaved Parmesan cheese or white truffles
Baby arugula (or baby spinach if you prefer)
Optional: sliced onions
Toasted baguette on the side
Optional: lemon wedges
Dishes of flake salt (Cyprus, Maldon, Smoked—substitute coarse sea salt) and cracked pepper
1. PLACE the beef in the freezer for 30 minutes (longer if needed) to firm it and make it easier to slice thin. Using your sharpest knife, slice thin pieces. Arrange on individual plates or a platter. You can create a “sunburst” or “wheel spoke” or parallel slices, depending on the plate or platter.
2. DRIZZLE olive oil over the top of the beef or around the rim of the plate. If using onions (not part of the original recipe), scatter over the beef, along with the shaved Parmesan. Lastly, top with the arugula.
3. SERVE with optional lemon wedges and pass dishes of salt and pepper (or go the conventional route, with salt and pepper shakers).
Filet mignon. To make carpaccio, freeze it for 30 minutes to make it easy to slice thin pieces. Photo courtesy Mackenzie Ltd.
FILET MIGNON TRIVIA
Filet mignon is the most tender cut of beef. It is cut from the tenderloin, a muscle in the middle of the back between the sirloin and the ribs. Because the muscle is not weight-bearing, it contains less connective tissue. This is why it’s the most tender.
The name is French for “tender fillet” or “dainty fillet.” Fillet, pronounced FILL-it, is the English spelling of filet. Americans use the French spelling and pronunciation, fee-LAY min-YONE.
Filet mignon is the most expensive cut of beef. That’s not only because it’s so desirable for its tenderness, but because the tenderloin is very small.
The tenderloin weighs an average of five to seven pounds. It is not an even width; it tapers on both ends, so filets mignon can only be cut from the center. The center cut of a 5-1/2 pound tenderloin is just 2 pounds or so.
The entire center cut can be roasted whole—the dish known as Chateaubriand. For even more tenderness, you can poach the center cut. It’s our favorite dish for entertaining—very easy, requiring no time to check on it as it cooks. We’ll publish the recipe in a future tip.
The tenderloin is generally not as flavorful (“beefy”) as other premium cuts of beef (e.g., the rib eye or the strip steak). That’s why it is sometimes wrapped in bacon or served with a sauce.
Tournedos are small round pieces of beef cut from the tail and head of the tenderloin, often cooked with bacon.
The pieces that are too small to use as steak are often cut into 1-inch pieces for a Beef Stroganoff or other dishes. You can use them in a steak salad.
English (U.S.): medallions, tenderloin steak
English (UK, Ireland): fillet steak
English (Australia, New Zealand): eye fillet
French: filet de bœuf (the entire center-cut tenderloin is the dish known as Chateaubriand)
French (Québec): filet mignon
Portuguese: filé or filé mignon
Spanish: filete miñón or filet mignon
SOME OTHER NAMES FOR FILET MIGNON
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