Follow these 8 tips and you can cook a perfect filet mignon

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Filet mignon is one of the tastiest, and priciest, cuts of beef you could ever serve at your dinner table. But with those traits also comes the intimidation factor in knowing that if you overcook it, you'll regret it tonight, tomorrow, and probably even the next day. So how do you get this cut to the perfection you know it can be?
While filet mignon isn't all that difficult to cook, there are some tips and tricks that can make it even better and can help get that delicious meal on your table perfectly done for you. Follow these tips, and you'll be a filet master in no time at all. So when you splurge on that pricey cut of meat, there will be no regrets afterwards.
1. Don't cook it straight out of the fridge
Like many other cuts of beef, filet mignon needs to be taken out of the fridge at least half an hour before it's cooked; and an hour or so is even better. This allows the meat to come up to room temperature before it ever touches the heat, giving it a more even cook once it hits the pan. If a cold fillet is placed into the pan, the outside of it will cook far quicker than the inside. You'll then have two choices: one is to allow the outside of it to become burnt or dry before the inside is cooked to your liking, or you can keep the outside moist and juicy while enjoying a rarer-than-usual steak inside.
2. Don't trim it
Cooks become used to trimming meat of excess fat before they cook it. When left on, it can often become rubbery or just make the entire dish greasy. But it's important to remember that filet mignon is an extremely lean piece of beef by nature. And if you trim any of the fat away from it, it will result in a very tough and dry piece of beef. Nobody wants that. So when you take it out of the package, don't look at that fat as something that needs to be dealt with. Look at it as the flavor that's going to enhance your dish.
3. Sear it properly
Searing filet mignon gives it a nice crust that not only adds some texture to the beef but will also give it a much deeper and richer flavor. And while there are a couple of ways to sear filet mignon properly, there's really just one way it shouldn't be done — in a non-stick skillet. Non-stick skillets have a coating on them that will actually prevent that crust from forming, so your efforts will be fruitless. Choose a stainless steel or cast-iron skillet instead that's oven-proof — that tip is coming. And when you do sear it, make sure that skillet is piping hot, to the point just before the oil starts to smoke. It won't take long to sear it, and that high heat is needed to get the crust you're looking for.
4. Don't move the meat around
While non-stick skillets will prevent a crust from forming, so too will moving the meat around too much while it cooks. To form a crust, that meat has to be directly exposed to high heat for several minutes. If it's not, the surface of the meat will cool down, keeping the crust from forming.
To get that tasty crust, place the filet in a skillet, and leave it there for about three or four minutes. Then flip it over, and don't touch it anymore during its cooking time.
5. Finish it in the oven
There is a good chance that if you leave the filet to finish cooking in the skillet, it will dry out. The heat is not only very high, but the filet is also directly exposed to it on just one side after you flip it. And that can result in uneven cooking, once again leaving you with dry and tough meat. However, if you place the filet into a hot oven right after searing it, the heat will be more even and able to move around the entire piece of meat, cooking it evenly and making your filet perfectly done through and through.
While you're searing your filet, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Once you've seared the first side, flip the filet, and then place it and the entire skillet into the oven. Leave it there for five minutes to achieve a medium-rare finish and seven minutes for a medium one.
6. Use a timer
While the filet is cooking in the oven, and even while it's searing if you want to be really accurate with it, use a timer. Filet mignon cooks very quickly, and that time goes even more quickly when you're busy preparing sides and setting the table. So set the timer, and keep it close by while preparing the the rest of the meal. Otherwise your filet can quickly become overcooked and that will turn it dry and tough.
7. Rest the meat
Just like most cuts of beef should be brought up to room temperature before cooking, all of them need to rest right after coming off the heat. And that includes filet mignon. Don't rest it in the pan or the residual heat from the pan will overcook the filet. Take it out of the pan, place it on a plate or cutting board and let it rest for five minutes, uncovered. It won't be long enough to make the meat cool down, and covering it will only steam the meat and overcook it.
8. Serve it as-is
It can be tempting to top your filet with a knob of butter or a heap of crumbled blue cheese. After all, you've seen all the fancy restaurants do it, and those toppings are so delicious. How could they be bad on filet mignon? Well, they won't be. But the filet also won't be as delicious as it possibly could be. And after all, you spent all that money on it; it would be a real shame to lose all that rich flavor. So, to make sure you don't waste it under something else really decadent in taste, just season the filet generously with salt and pepper before cooking and leave the seasoning at that. It will be perfect and beautiful, and just like you imagined.
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