filet; beef tenderloin steak; tournedos; filet de boeuf
What is it?
This exceedingly tender beef steak is cut from the tenderloin, and is delicious seared or grilled. When cut from the smaller end, the steaks are usually 1 to 2 inches thick and 1-1/2 to 2 inches in diameter and called filet mignon. Tournedos are cut from the wider end and are thinner and larger. Filet steaks have a bit less flavor than other cuts, but they make up for that in their silken texture. Filet mignon is a good match for rubs, sauces, or flavored butters.
Don’t have it?
A top loin steak can usually substitute, but it won’t have the same tenderness.
How to choose:
If you have a choice, ask for center-cut filets, rather than ones from the tail or head; 6 to 8 oz. per person is a good serving. The top grade for meat is Prime, which has the best marbling, texture, and flavor, but it’s hard to get and expensive. Steak labeled Choice (the second-tier grade) which is also well-marbled, but less expensive and more widely available.
How to prep:
Serve this cut rare or medium rare; when cooked past that, its flavor can become livery.
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Ask for filets from near the tail end of the tenderloin so they’re tall and narrow, rather than short and wide.
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