The recipe is from Ina Garten’s “How Easy Is That?” cookbook. A young woman I met at a food writers’ conference in Knoxville in May turned me on to this recipe (and then sent me the cookbook as a happy).
The first time husband Charlie and I made these, we went right by Ina’s directions and the recipe had waaaay too much salt. The second time, we cut the salt in half and it was still too much. The third time we got it just right.
The original recipe also called for 10-ounce fillets, but that is just too much beef for us. I usually ask the butcher to cut a 6-ounce for me and an 8-ounce for Charlie (and these are a once-a-month treat).
Once you try this recipe, I don’t know if you’ll ever go back to the grill when it comes to filet mignon again – although I think a rib-eye and the grill are made for each other.
2 (6- to 8-ounce) filet mignons
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarsely cracked black peppercorns
2 teaspoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a 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 salt and 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. (Sear the top for 2 minutes, the bottom for two minutes, then turn steaks on their sides and sear sides in three turns, for 2 minutes each.)
Top each steak with a teaspoon of butter and place the skillet in the oven. Cook the steaks until they reach 120 degrees for rare or 125 degrees for medium-rare on an instant-read thermometer.
Remove the steaks to a serving platter, cover tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.