August 13th is National Filet Mignon Day.
The simplest way to garnish a steak is with a pat of butter, or a compound butter like blue cheese butter, garlic herb butter or truffle butter (photo #2).
While we’re fine with steak sauce with a sirloin steak, a tender, subtle cut like filet mignon benefits from a more complicated preparation like mustard sauce, red wine sauce (photo #3) or mushroom sauce (photo #4)?
Add Dijon mustard to taste for a Dijon sauce, add a bit of cream for a cream sauce.
We’ve even tried it with creamy parmesan sauce (our suggestion is to save this preparation for a less expensive cut, like sirloin).
But we actually like the “more is better” approach, and serve grilled filet mignon and other cuts of steak with three or four sauces (photo #5).
Different bites, different experiences.
Don’t want a sauce, per se? Use a topping:
The most tender cut of beef comes from the small end of the tenderloin, inside the rib cage of the steer. It accounts for less than 1% of the entire carcass (see the small red triangle on image #6).
That’s why it’s so expensive.
The tenderloin runs across the back of the steer. Because this area of the animal is not weight-bearing, the connective tissue is not toughened by exercise. This results in extremely tender meat.
Filet mignon is lightly marbled and mild flavored compared to other cuts, and is best served rare to medium rare.
Boneless, it is ideally 2-1/2 inches thick (although it is sliced thinner) and 1-1/2 to 3 inches in diameter.
The term “filet mignon” is a French term. The literal meaning is small, cute or dainty (mignon) boneless slice (filet).
Chateaubriand is the center, thickest cut from the tenderloin, and a specific preparation.
Filet mignon can also be served raw, as carpaccio.
On restaurant menus it is called filet mignon, tournedos, medallions, filet de boeuf and tenderloin steak.
But the term filet mignon is not used in France!
It was invented in 1906 by O. Henry (William Sydney Porter) in his book, The Four Million.
Some Other Names For Filet Mignon