Fillet steaks, commonly called filet mignon, are cut from the beef tenderloin. Considered the tenderest cut of beef, filet mignon also has the least fat content, making it less flavourful as other cuts. As filet mignon is one of the priciest steaks on the market, properly cooking it is important; rare to medium rare is the suggested cooking temperature. Many chefs recommend buying less costly steaks when cooking to well done is preferred. Pan frying filet mignon yields the best results, while cooking on a charcoal or gas grill is also recommended.
Bring the fillet steak to room temperature if previously stored in the refrigerator. Allowing it to rest for 30 minutes outside the refrigerator is sufficient.
Heat a frying pan (cast iron if available) at high heat for five minutes. This makes the pan very hot and may cause smoking when the steak is placed in the pan, but is required to obtain the proper crust Filet Mignon is known for. Pat the steak dry with a clean kitchen towel and rub both sides with vegetable or canola. Place the fillet steak in the centre of the pan.
Move the steak after about 30 seconds with a metal spatula; keeping the crust from sticking to the pan. For each side, cook for two to three minutes for medium rare and, closer to two for rare, and four for medium.
Flip the steak with the spatula and repeat step three.
Season with salt and pepper after the steak is done and allow to rest for one to two minutes to allow the juices to redistribute and serve.
Preheat the grill with the lid closed at its highest setting for ten minutes. Pat the steak dry with a clean towel and lightly oil with vegetable or canola.
Place the fillet steak about two inches away from the flame Allow to cook for two minutes each side for rare, three for medium rare and four for medium. Be sure to move the steak with the spatula after 30 seconds to prevent sticking.
Flip the steak with a spatula and repeat step two.
Remove the steak from the grill and allow it to rest for one to two minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
This cooking procedure is for fillet steaks one and one-half inches thick. If thinner, reduce cooking time accordingly. Do not season before cooking as pepper burns and salt will prevent the crust from forming properly. Do not use olive oil as it cannot withstand the high cooking temperature. If using a meat thermometer, the recommended internal temperatures are 120 to 125 degrees Fahrenheit for rare steaks, 130 to 135 degrees Fahrenheit for medium-rare and 140 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit for medium-rare