Filet mignon has been given undue consideration for far too long: Many criticize its leanness, its dryness, its flavorlessness. But actually, if you just cook it correctly, give it a nice sear, and let it finish in a hot oven for a split second (I prefer 3 minutes in the oven for a proper rare, after which it should rest on the counter for 5 minutes for the juices to redistribute), then what you'll end up with is a gorgeously cooked piece of meat that's not mooing on the inside, but rather uniformly pink and soft throughout the center. But cooked, all the same.
It goes without saying, as well, that filet mignon is the ideal solo cut: a single nugget of tender beef, perfectly portioned for one. But the real stars of this recipe below, I’ll admit, are the crispy-chewy roasted potatoes. —Eric Kim
filet mignon, about 2 inches thick (6 to 8 ounces)
Pomegranate molasses, for serving
In This Recipe
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Cut the potato into medallion coins, about 1/2-inch thick, and add to a pot of cold water. Turn the heat to high, bring to a boil, and drain in a colander over the sink. Give it a few seconds to steam out (the residual heat should evaporate any excess water). Then, in the same colander, toss with the melted butter and season generously with salt and pepper. Grate in a bit of nutmeg as well.
Transfer dressed potatoes to a sheet pan and roast in the oven for 30 minutes, flipping halfway.
Meanwhile, when the potatoes have 15 minutes left to go, preheat a 3.5-inch cast iron skillet (or any oven-safe pan :) ) over medium heat. Smear the filet mignon with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. When the pan is just starting to smoke, add the steak, pressing gently into the pan so it's in full-contact with the heat and so it gets a nice sear. Cook for 4 minutes on this first side, then flip and cook for 3 minutes on the other side.
Transfer steak to the oven and finish cooking there for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on your preferred doneness. (I always go for 3 minutes because I love a rare filet mignon.) Plate and let rest for 5 minutes.
To serve, carve the steak like this: Cut in half so you've got half moons. Then, what I like to do is cut each half once more horizontally so you're cutting against the grain. This makes for the softest-textured steak ever. Eat with the roasted potatoes and pomegranate molasses, a lovely make-shift steak sauce.
Eric Kim is the Senior Editor and 'Table for One' columnist at Food52. Formerly the Digital Manager of FoodNetwork.com, he writes about food, travel, and culture and lives in a tiny shoebox in Manhattan with his dog, Quentin "Q" Compson Kim. His favorite writers are William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway.