Supremely tender and flavorful, filet mignon is an eminently popular cut of beef—and a fine high-end choice for a special occasion like Valentine’s Day.
But here’s the catch: Cooking it isn’t exactly a cinch. Should you grill it? How high should the heat be? How do you get that slight crunch around the outside? Questions like these are why many people prefer to entrust only a restaurant chef with the task of bringing their steak to juicy perfection.
As it happens, we know a few chefs of our own, so we sat down with Plated’s Head of Culinary, Chef Elana Karp, to find out how she goes about making her filet mignon. If you follow her trustworthy advice, we know you’ll knock this dinner out of the park and impress not just yourself, but any special someone you might be cooking for on Valentine’s.
How to Prep
(First, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. You’ll be using it later. For now, back to the meat!) When it comes to getting your filet ready, the setup is pretty standard. “As with all meats, pat it dry first and season it with salt and pepper just before putting it in the pan,” Chef Elana says. “This will help it get a great crust, instead of steaming in the pan.” Notice that you don’t need to overthink the seasoning—you can end up with a great final product by starting off with just a little salt and pepper.
How to Cook
When your steak is prepped and ready to go, measure a tablespoon of canola oil in an ovenproof pan over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, the pan is ready for steak. “We like to first sear the steak in a pan,” Elana explains. “The heat shouldn’t be too high because you don’t want to make the meat tough or burned, but just hot enough that it gets a golden crust—about four minutes per side.”
After that, transfer the pan to the oven to finish cooking. Why this stovetop-to-oven approach? Chef Elana says that “transferring the filet to the oven ensures that it cooks evenly through. That’s how we make sure ours comes out perfectly.”
Chef Elana recommends a cook time of four to eight minutes to achieve a perfectly medium rare steak.
A four to eight minute time range can be huge stretch when the fate of a beautiful steak rests in balance. But according to Chef Elana, there’s a great way to test whether your steak is done: “Press your finger lightly into the top of the meat. If it doesn’t spring back at all, it’s not ready. You’re looking for a medium level of firmness and spring.”
Ready to make this amazing meal for someone near and dear? It’s now on the Plated menu! Schedule your delivery and make this Valentine’s Day a little extra special.