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Filet Mignon

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Filet Mignon on Wikipedia:

This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (May 2009) American Beef Cuts Beef cut: Tenderloin Steak type: Filet Mignon

Filet mignon (French for ``cute fillet`` or ``dainty fillet``) is a steak cut of beef taken from the tenderloin, or psoas major of the steer or heifer.

The tenderloin runs along both sides of the spine, and is usually harvested as two long snake-shaped cuts of beef. The tenderloin (not to be confused with the short loin) is sometimes sold whole. If the small forward end of the tenderloin is cut into portions before cooking, that portion is known as filet mignon, or the fillet, from the French boneless meat (mignon meaning ``small`` as true mignons are cut from the smaller tail end of the tenderloin). In contrast American butchers tend to call all tenderloin steaks filets mignons.

The fillet is the most tender cut of beef, and is the most expensive. The average steer or heifer provides no more than 4-6 pounds of fillet. Because the muscle is non-weight bearing, it receives very little exercise, which makes it tender.

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Other names

The same cut of beef can also be called:

French: filet de bœuf. English (US): medallions, tenderloin steak. English (UK & Ireland): fillet steak.

In the US, the central and large end of the tenderloin are often sold as filet mignon in supermarkets and restaurants. The French terms for these cuts are tournedos (the smaller central portion), châteaubriand (the larger central portion) and biftek (cut from the large end known as the tête de filet in French).[1]

Porterhouse steaks and T-bone steaks are large cuts which include the fillet. The small medallion on one side of the bone is the fillet, and the long strip of meat on the other side of the bone is the strip steak—in Commonwealth of Nations usage, only the strip steak is called the porterhouse.

Preparation

Filet can be cut into 1-2 inch thick portions, then grilled and served as-is. One can also find the filet in stores already cut into portions and wrapped with bacon. High heat is the usual method for cooking the filet. Either grilling, pan frying, broiling, or roasting is preferred.

Bacon is often used in cooking the fillet because of the low levels of fat found in the filet (see barding and larding). Filets also have low levels of marbling, or internal fat. Bacon is wrapped around the filet and pinned closed with a wooden toothpick. This adds flavor and keeps the fillet from drying out during the cooking process. Traditionally, filet mignon is seared on each side using intense heat for a short time and then transferred to a lower heat to cook the meat all the way through. Filet mignon is often served rarer than other meats. Those who prefer a more well-done steak can request a ``butterflied`` filet, meaning that meat is cut down the middle, and opened up to expose more of the meat to heat during the cooking process.

History

The filet mignon steak cut has appeared on US restaurant menus since 1898,[2] if not earlier.

Kosher status

It is possible to have kosher beef filet mignon, but it is rare and expensive. This is due to the fact that there are non-kosher fats (cheilev) and the sciatic nerve (gid hanosheh) in the hindquarters of domestic cattle which must be carefully removed (nikkur). This is generally uneconomical and as a result the entire hindquarters are usually sold to the non-kosher market. However, properly-prepared filet mignon can be found in modern Israel, where there is a small industry of people trained and willing to conduct commercial nikkur.

Gallery

Filet Mignon wrapped with bacon, and a side of broccoli.

References

^ Julia Child (1961) Mastering the Art of French Cooking ^ ``Planters Hotel`` restaurant, St. Louis, menu dated April 21, 1898: ``Filet Mignon Saute, Fresh Mushrooms - 50-90.`` description and definition

External links

pictures and diagrams of beef cuts