You won't find a cut of beef more tender than filet mignon.
These delicate little steaks are cut from the tenderloin, which contains very little connective tissue and fat. In fact, this cut is so lean that it lacks the fatty flavor of a well-marbled steak, but Michael Mina’s filet mignon recipe involves basting the beef in butter to bring out a nutty, caramelized richness. Chef Mina also demonstrates how to cook mushrooms by caramelizing them and then dousing them in red wine, which is reduced along with browned butter to create a sumptuous sauce. Plated with braised mushrooms, the brown butter-red wine reduction and a sprinkle of Caramelized Shallot Salt, these juicy little filets are perfection on a plate.
- Drop the knife. When marinating and basting the beef, leave the garlic and thyme in large pieces so that they are easy to remove once they’ve infused the meat with their flavor.
- Go big or go home. For evenly colored filets, use a pan that’s large enough to sear the meat without overcrowding. A crowded pan will get in the way of even heat distribution.
- Mushroom magic. To avoid waterlogged or soggy mushrooms, we peel off their outer skin instead of rinsing them in the sink.
- Superior sauce. When adding the wine to the mushrooms, start with a small amount to deglaze the pan and maximize the flavor of the reduction. Then add the rest and simmer.
This tool is one we find especially helpful when making this dish.
- Baking dish with resting rack. This simple set-up allows the meat to rest, which gives its delicious juices time to distribute themselves throughout the filet.
The list below includes all the equipment you’ll want to make this dish.
- Heavy sauce pot (10-inch round with 2-inch straight sides)
- Knife and cutting board, lined with paper towel
- Paring knife
- 2-inch deep container
- Plastic wrap
- Baking dish with resting rack
- 2 (8 ounce) beef tenderloin fillets (also known as filet mignon)
- 2 tablespoons reserved shallot oil (from Caramelized Shallot Salt) or olive oil
- 2 medium shallots, peeled
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 2 sprigs thyme
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 6 ounces cremini mushrooms
- Grapeseed oil
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup light red wine, such as Pinot Noir
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley (optional)
- Caramelized Shallot Salt or other flaky sea salt
Total Time: 40 minutes, plus marinating and resting time
Active Time: 40 minutes
- One to eight hours before cooking the filet mignon, marinate the meat. Use a chef knife to very thinly slice the shallots. Place filets in a plastic container or baking dish. Coat with the reserved shallot oil or olive oil and add the shallot slices, whole garlic clove, thyme and black pepper. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator.
- Thirty minutes before cooking the meat, remove the filets from the fridge and bring to room temperature. Remove from the marinade and brush off the shallots, garlic and thyme, saving them for basting the filets. Place the filets on a rack over a baking sheet and season well with salt and pepper on all sides.
- Trim the stems of the mushrooms and use a paring knife to “peel” the thin outer layer of skin off of the mushrooms. Start under the mushroom cap and move the knife up to the top of the cap. If your mushrooms are very clean, this step is not necessary but it is still good to do since your final product will not only taste cleaner, but it will also look more refined. You can also wash and dry your mushrooms very well if you are pressed for time or are not as concerned about the texture or presentation.
- Heat a large, heavy sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add just enough grapeseed oil to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot, set filets about 2-inches apart in the pan, and brown on all sides of the meat, 11/2 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer filets to a cooling rack set over a baking sheet.
- Discard the remaining oil in pan. Set the pan back over medium-low heat and add 3 tablespoons of butter to the pan, scraping the spoon against the pan to loosen the brown bits. Once the butter is hot and foamy, add the shallot, garlic and thyme from the marinade. Return the filets to the pan and baste them for until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out just warm or the internal temperature reaches 130-135ºF, about 3 minutes.
- Transfer the filets to the cooling rack and top with half of the aromatics and butter from the pan. Leave the remaining half of butter in the pan. Add the mushrooms and brown, stirring occasionally and lowering the heat to medium-low heat so as not to burn the butter, about 2-3 minutes. Season the mushrooms with salt. Add the red wine, bring to a simmer, and reduce it until it coats the back of a spoon. Turn the heat down to low and stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter. Taste again and season as needed. Sprinkle mushrooms with parsley.
- Cut filet into ½-inch slices on a paper towel-lined cutting board to keep the juices from spreading. Top the beef slices with the shallot slices, red wine-braised mushrooms, the sauce, and a light sprinkle of Caramelized Shallot Salt.
Serve Filet Mignon with Frisée & Herb Salad