Sophisticated Savories

Sophisticated Savories

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Dude Food...

Filet Mignon wrapped in Bacon and
topped with Shrimp.  Scallop Potatoes
and Asparagus
Photo by Jennifer Richards

Hey Family and Friends!

Steak.  I mean… correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure I’m spot on.

There are two mistakes that the majority of people make when cooking steak… they overcook the cut (come on, it’s already dead… no need to kill it again), and they do not allow ample time for the meat to rest before serving.


Filet Mignon on Grill
One of my favorite cuts of meat is the filet mignon.  Although I do not consume red meat on a consistent basis (I prefer fish and poultry), from time-to-time, nothing is more satisfying than a tender filet.  When I was younger, I used to order my filet “well done.”  In reality, it was not “well done” at all… poorly done by actually consuming the overcooked meat.  The tender flavors and juices were annihilated when the fibers cook past the medium-rare stage.  I learned how to properly cook and consume proteins in Paris.  After dining on meat at a proper cooking temperature, I will never revert to my “well-done” ways again.  Believe me, I learned… and applied to future preparations. 

Cooking Chart for Meat - Approximate Time
So many life-lessons that can be taught in the kitchen and adapted to life.

So Macho Men, listen carefully and take notes.  Every cut of meat is different, every oven is different.  Every piece of meat is unique, fostering its own unique cooking time.  After years of experience, I use the “touch-method” to understand the degree of “doneness.”  As a beginner, I would strongly encourage investing in a cooking thermometer in order to make the entire process much less intimidating (you will know exactly when to remove the steak from the grill/oven). 

Medium-Rare Filet Mignon
Beginning with a quality product is essential.  I generally purchase my meat at Central Market or Whole Foods when in Dallas. When cooking a brilliant cut of meat, the more simple, the better.  Allow the star to shine.  A simple sprinkle of salt and cayenne pepper on both sides.  Heat almond or walnut oil in a sauté pan until hot enough that steam begins to rise (this is called the “smoke point.”)  If the oil is not hot enough, then the meat will actually begin to boil, as opposed to searing.  When the smoke begins to barely rise, add a dab of butter and place the filet on the sauté pan.  Allow to cook for about 2 minutes (to obtain a nice searing).  Flip and repeat.  Then sear all sides on the meat.  When finished, transfer filet to an oven-proof pan.  Pour the excess oil and butter into the pan to cook with the steak.  Place in oven (about 400 degrees F) and allow to cook to degree of desired done-ness.  Turn filet over as cooking process progresses.  At this point, I used the “touch-method” to determine when to remove the filet from the oven.   However, a thermometer for “newbies” will alert when the filet is finished.  I recommend serving a medium-rare steak… warm through the middle with a hint of red (between 130 – 135 degrees F).  Here's the trick... remove the steak before reaching the desired degree of completion (about 5 degrees before finished).  Why?  The steak will continue to cook while resting (explained below) - as well as cook when flashed in the oven to re-heat before serving.  By the time the filet reaches the table... perfection.

Filet Mignon wrapped in Bacon and
topped with Shrimp.  Scallop Potatoes
and Asparagus
Photo by Jennifer Richards
Most important aspect of this process?   Allow the meat to rest at least ten minutes before serving.  Individuals often make the mistake of serving the meat immediately after removed from the heat.  If you think about it, it makes sense… serving immediately in order to allow the client to enjoy when warm.  However, the problem occurs when the consumer cuts into the meat… the coveted juices immediately flood onto the plate – losing the full-flavor of the steak.  In order to prevent the “liquid gold” from escaping, cover the steak with aluminum foil and place filet in a warm area.  Flip the steak after five minutes.  This allows the juices to seep deeper into the steak.  Rest for an additional five minutes (ten total).  Before serving, place filet in the oven for only a few minutes – until it is warm (about 1-2minutes). 

While attending Le Cordon Bleu in
Paris, France in 2007/2008
With Chef Frank Poupard
In order to cut additional calories, cooking the steak on a grill will eliminate the additional oils and butters.  Simply brush the grill with oil, then lay the steak down and allow to cook.  Again, the same process: top, bottom, and all sides.  I adore grilling any type of protein… the added flavor from the grill adds a complementary savory element to any cut of meat/fish.

While studying at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, my chefs would often become irritated whenever individuals would ask the question, “Chef, how long should I cook (insert featured item here) for?”  Quite honestly, every oven is different, every size and cut of meat is different, every cooking time will be different.  That can be intimidating for an inexperienced individual.  My chefs would always say, “C’est cuit quand c’est cuit…” meaning... “it’s cooked when it’s cooked.”  Ergo, as a chef, you must constantly be aware of what is being cooked.  All too often, people are simply not willing to extend the necessary patience needed to devote towards cooking.  Respecting the ingredients was ingrained into my mind when studying and working in the gorgeous City of Lights.  Attention to even the smallest of details is evident when consuming the final product.

A perfectly cooked steak knows no embellishments.

My precious puppy, Charis!
Ok… maybe a little gold leaf…

All my love from DALLAS, y’all!

1 comment:

  1. AWESOME article! And your comment... "come on, it’s already dead… no need to kill it again." ...Classic. ;)