Is there such a thing as universal happiness? If you're a lusty, red-blooded carnivore, this meal should fit the bill. It is so over-the-top, flat-out cliche Valentine's Day. And that's exactly why I love it. Luscious, classy, and absolutely worthy of a splurge on a great bottle of Cab and a swanky apron or something.
Peppery seared steak. Glossy red wine sauce. Silky, chewy potatoes. A little something green for color. It shouldn't sink you into a pit of belly-busted distress, and the cleanup can wait til morning. Exactly the kind of meal you want when you're attempting to impress the pants off someone.
Filet Mignon with Red Wine Reduction, Barbie Potatoes* and Broccolini
Yield: Serves 2
Prep Time: 20 min Cook Time: 40 min Total Time: 1 hour
2 medium potatoes, sliced very thinly (1/8" or so)
2 Tbs butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 lovely filet mignon steaks. Quality over quantity.
Canola or grape seed oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Red Wine Reduction
1 shallot, diced
2 Tbs butter, divided
1 cup red wine (decent wine, but save the really good stuff for drinking)
1 cup good quality beef or veal stock. Use quality stock, preferably unsalted. It matters here.
0.5 Tbs butter
1 bunch broccolini, ends trimmed
1 small garlic clove, sliced thin
Pinch of red pepper flakes
FIRST: Prior to prepping potatoes, take the steaks out of the fridge and season generously with salt and freshly ground pepper. This is one of the most important steps for awesome steak. Please do it.
Barbie Potatoes*: This is my grandma's legacy. She drove a sweet yellow Cadillac with yellow leather seats. Her shoe collection was epic. And her potatoes were refined and special, yet super easy to pull off.
Preheat oven to 450F/230C. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt 2 Tbs butter in saucepan or microwave over low heat. Toss potatoes with butter. Lay out potato slices across sheet. You want the slices overlapping slightly so each piece will have areas of crispy edge and soft, chewy center. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and bake for about 35 minutes, til edges are crispy and centers look slightly translucent.
Steak: Depending on how thick your steaks are, you can either cook entirely on your stovetop or finish in the oven. For steaks thicker than 1.5"/3.8cm, I'd think about finishing in your oven. (The steaks in my photos were finished in the oven.) Unless you have a really good gas range, you run the risk of burning the outside and leaving a bloody center. You can ensure you don't scorch an awesome piece of meat this way, and you can make better use of the oven that's cooking potatoes at this very moment.
Stovetop Method: Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Once hot, place the steaks in the pan. They should sizzle. If they don't, your oil isn't hot enough and you won't get a nice crust. For medium-rare, cook about 4 minutes, then flip and cook an additional 4-5 minutes. The internal temperature should be about 125F / 52C. Remove and cover to keep warm. As it sits, the temperature will continue to rise and you should get a nice medium-rare steak.
Stove/Oven Method: Turn the heat to medium-high, rather than medium, and cook for only about 2 minutes per side. Make sure you have an oven-safe skillet, and slide the whole thing in for another 5 to 8 minutes til the temperature is about 125F / 52C. Remove skillet from oven, put the steaks on a plate and cover to keep warm.
Sauce: Put skillet back on stovetop. If your skillet has been roasting away, cover the handle with an oven mitt. (Trust me on this one. Useless hands = not sexy.) Melt a pat of butter over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add wine, increase heat to medium high, and scrape up the bits stuck to skillet. (Reference my pan sauce recipe for more on this technique). Reduce wine til about halfway evaporated, then add the stock and reduce til more than halved again, 5-10 minutes. The consistency should be thick and syrupy. Take skillet off heat and strain the sauce into a bowl, discarding solids. Pour back into the skillet, swirl in remaining butter, and season with a good bit of salt. Taste it - you may be surprised at how much salt you need to add.
Broccolini: While your sauce is cooking, heat 0.5 Tbs of butter in the other skillet over medium-low heat. Throw in garlic and red pepper flakes, and stir for about 30 seconds. Then add broccolini and a good splash (2-3 Tbs) of water to help it steam a bit. Give it a stir, then cover and cook for about 4 minutes. The broccolini is done when it is bright green and still a bit crisp at the stalk. Remove cover, let a bit of the liquid evaporate off for another minute, then remove from heat and season with salt.
Serving: While the sauce finishes up, you may want to put the steaks back in your hot oven, just for a quick warming. Pool the sauce on the plate, layer on potatoes and steak, and add broccolini. Sprinkle steaks with a bit of flaky salt and serve.
At this point, everything should be ready to go. Pour two hefty glasses of wine, turn up the Jodeci, and chew slowly. You'll get lucky at least one way.
If you feel a little something something will take this over the top...
Chocolate Rosemary Sauce: Stir in 1 Tbs of unsweetened cocoa power and 0.5 tsp minced fresh rosemary, before swirling in butter
Balsamic Raspberry Sauce: Reduce 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar with red wine, then stir in 1 Tbs raspberry jam before butter
Mustard Thyme Sauce: Stir in 1 tsp grainy mustard and 0.5 tsp minced fresh thyme before swirling in butter
Shiitake Dijon Sauce: Cook a large handful of sliced shiitake mushrooms with shallots. Stir in 1 tsp Dijon mustard before swirling in butter. Garnish with a bit of minced parsley.