Filet mignon is French, of course, with filet meaning “thick slice” and mignon meaning “dainty.” Filet mignon comes from the small end of the tenderloin (called the short loin) which is found on the back rib cage of the animal. This area of the animal isn’t weight-bearing, thus the connective tissue isn’t toughened by exercise resulting in extremely tender meat. This also means that the meat lacks some of the flavor held by meat that has the bone attached. To keep the flavor, you must cook filet mignon quickly. This can be done a variety of ways, including broiling and grilling.
It should never be cooked beyond medium rare, because the more done it is, the less tender and more dry it becomes and the more flavor it will lose. You must always use a dry method of cooking, even if it’ll be a quick method. Methods of cooking that are dry are such types as roasting, pan frying, grilling, broiling, etc.. Since this cut of meat is more dry than others, you won’t want to cut the meat to check to determine if it’s done. Instead, you should touch it. The touch-method of checking isn’t as hard as it may seem:
1. If the meat feels hard or business, it’s too done.
2. When the filet mignon is tender when you touch it and your finger leaves an imprint, it’s rare.
3. If it’s still soft, but leaves no imprint, and is slightly springy, then it’s medium rare (best with this particular sort of meat).
The reason filet mignon is wrapped in bacon (this wrapping is called barding) is because this particular cut of meat has no layer of fat around it. The bacon not only adds extra flavor to the filet mignon, it also gives it the fat necessary to keep the meat from drying out. This is a concern because the strips are so small in filet mignon and they have less fat than many cuts of beef.
What to serve with Filet Mignon
Since the flavor of filet mignon tends to be rather mild, many folks prefer to serve it with sauces, either smothering the beef or as a dip. There are many unique options for the best sauce for filet mignon and many depend only on the individual’s particular flavor preference. Some customers prefer to have a certain sort of steak sauce for dipping and some may prefer a marinade to add flavor during cooking. Both of them can turn out well.
Wines & Filet Mignon
There are many distinct varieties of wines that are great to serve with filet mignon, and determining which one will go best with it depends largely on the flavor of this sauce. This is especially true when the sauce is rather powerful, or has a flavor that is more powerful than the filet mignon itself. The best wines to match with filet mignon are dry, red wines such as Merlot. If your taste is a sweet wine, then you may want to consider trying a White Zinfandel (if this is the choice, however, you won’t want to use very much pepper on the filet mignon). If you are a white wine drinker, then the ideal match for filet mignon is going to be a rich Chardonnay.
Strategies for cooking Filet Mignon
-When picking tenderloin or pieces, choose the lighter color over dark red. This indicates more marbling which makes it more tender. This cut is so tender that it should never be cooked beyond a medium-rare stage. The longer you cook it, the less tender and more dry it becomes.
-Use a sterile, higher heat method such as broiling, roasting, pan-frying or grilling for this tender cut.
-Entire tenderloin is wonderful to material or bake en croute (in savory pastry).
-Cutting to the meat to check doneness lets juice escape. Use the touch system. Press the meat. If it feels soft and mushy and leaves an imprint, it’s rare. -If it’s soft, but slightly springy, it’s medium-rare. The minute it starts to feel firm, it’s overdone.
-Since the tenderloin has no surrounding fat tissue, it is often wrapped in a layer of fat (called barding) such as suet or bacon to keep it from drying out. Likewise with filet pieces. The barding also adds flavor.
-Cubed tenderloin is a popular selection for fondue hot-pots and shish-kebabs.
-To ensure even cooking when roasting the entire tenderloin, the small end ought to be tucked up and tied or trimmed for additional use.