A Perfect Valentine’s Day Dinner

My husband asked me if I would like to go out to dinner for Valentine’s Day this year.  I thought, “Sure, why not.  It will be nice to have a great meal that someone else has prepared for me”.    I pictured a quiet corner table at our favorite bistro, the lights dimmed, conversation about bills, kids, and to-do lists banned.

Then I realized something.  Valentine’s day is on a Saturday this year!

It may seem like a good thing at first, the perfect Saturday night date with plenty of time to spare and no need to wake up early on Sunday.  BUT…the restaurants are going to be so horribly crowded and you know what that means!

You are going to spend half your evening shoved into a ridiculously small restaurant lobby, shoulder to shoulder with other patrons, all of you angrily checking the time on your phones in one hand and staring at the restaurant’s pager in the other, willing it to go off.  You are then going to be served by rushed wait staff who are already miffed that they don’t have the night off (who can blame them) and are completely stressed out by the throngs of people pooled in every square inch of the place, waiting to have their wonderful romantic dinner served to them.

If you get in, and if you get served, you will likely have a dish that is not up to par because every kitchen staff has it’s limit, especially if your local choices are limited to chain steak houses.  You will have likely shelled out a lot of cash, and you will have been shorted on that quality time with your partner you had so anticipated.

I hate to paint such a dim picture, but better you think about this now than when you are standing, wedged into a corner of some silly place, with peanut shells stuck to your shoes and no meal in sight.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The good news is, I’m giving you another option and a great one at that.

Did you know that one of the easiest things to cook properly is a filet mignon?  Did you know that you can cook up a gorgeous meal for your partner in less than 30 minutes?  It’s true.

Learning to properly cook a filet mignon was a life changer for me.  No longer am I paying for a $50 plate to have this delectable steak, but rather around $30 for an entire meal for two including two thick, mignons, cooked and seasoned to perfection.  It takes one pan and virtually no time at all.   But the reason it was life changing, is that you just feel like a rock star in the kitchen when you can successfully cook and serve something as ominous as the filet mignon.

This is the gorgeousness that you will be able to place in front of your Valentine:

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I’ve said it a million times on this blog and I will say it a million more I’m sure, because it’s so very true…cooking is a most intimate expression of true love and caring.  It says, “I love you enough to spend my time on you”.  And as we all know, time these days is perhaps a more precious commodity than money.

There are very few people who will not understand the significance of an exquisite meal, prepared carefully for them by hands they love.  Food is such a universal language and it always speaks volumes.

Now that I’ve convinced you to stay cocooned in the warmth of your own kitchen this Valentine’s Day, let’s talk about how to cook this steak.

A filet mignon is just a steak cut from the tenderloin of the cow.   So, it is appropriate to refer to it as a “beef tenderloin steak”.  Sometimes people cook the whole loin (which I will show you how to do in an upcoming blog) and it is simply referred to as “beef tenderloin”.  The muscle that is the tenderloin is not heavily used by the animal so it is inherently tender.  That’s one of the reasons it’s so easy to cook and requires very little skill-despite what the expensive steak houses want you to think.

The one thing you must not do to a filet mignon is over cook it.  Check out the inside of this meat.

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It should still be pink to the edges of the steak.  If you stick to the cooking time I outline for you here, you will achieve the correct doneness.

I have the entire recipe as pictured above outlined for you in the printable below, but let me walk you through the prep of the steak really quick.

Pick out a couple of filets that have a nice round pad of meat that is intact.

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Let the steaks rest on your counter for at least 30 minutes.  Cooking the steaks cold will prevent them from cooking evenly.

Coat the bottom of a heavy skillet with olive oil.  Bring the skillet up to screaming high heat.  This will give you a great sear on the outsides of the meat.  Lightly sprinkle both sides of the steaks with salt and pepper.  Cook them for about 2 and half minutes on each side-and no longer!

Place a tablespoon of unsalted butter onto the top of each steak, along with a fresh thyme sprig.  Place the entire skillet into a 400 degree oven for about four to five minutes.

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Remove the steaks from the hot pan and place them on a board to rest.   You need to remove them from the pan because you will be cooking your vegetables in the same pan, and you also don’t want the meat to continue to cook from the heat.

By the time you prepare your vegetables and the persimmon relish to go on top, your steaks will be perfectly rested, the flavorful  juices locked inside.

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Serve this up with a warm loaf of crusty bread and some Chardonnay.

Follow these instructions and I can pretty much assure you that you’ll be getting sex tonight.

Oh, yes!

Filet Mignon with Chard and Persimmon Compote

Serving Size: 2

Ingredients

  • Two 4 ounce beef tenderloin steaks
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 fresh persimmons, peeled and finely diced
  • 1/2 lemon (the juice and zest)
  • 1 Tbs raw honey
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • ¼ cup chardonnay or other dry white wine
  • ¼ cup low sodium beef stock
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, cleaned, dried, and roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Coat the bottom of a large cast iron skillet with olive oil. Heat the skillet on high heat until the pan is very hot.
  3. Salt and pepper the steaks on both sides.
  4. Add the steaks to the pan and sear each side for about 3 minutes to form a crust.
  5. Add a tablespoon of butter and a sprig of thyme to the top of each steak, leaving them in the skillet, and transfer them to the oven to cook for another 4 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add the persimmons. Add the lemon juice and honey. Cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the lemon zest and remove from heat.
  7. Remove the steaks from the oven. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest. Discard the thyme sprigs as they will be charred but their flavor has infused the meat.
  8. Place the same skillet over medium heat on the stove. Deglaze the pan with the beef broth and the wine.
  9. Add the shallot and cook for about 2 minutes until translucent but not browned.
  10. Add the chard and toss gently with tongs. Cook for only a minute or two, just until it begins to wilt.
  11. The chard should be well seasoned from the pan juices including the salt you put on the steaks, but taste and add more seasoning if needed.
  12. Place a mound of chard on each of four plates. Set the steak so that it is leaning against the chard. Spoon the persimmon compote over the steaks.
  13. Serve immediately and enjoy.
http://haveyourselfatime.com/vday-dinner/

Shauna

Comments

  1. Delicious you are so good!

  2. Dawn Miller says:

    I love the persimmon idea to add a little sweetness.

    • Thank you Dawn, it really worked out great. The sweetness of the persimmon and the tartness of the lemon cut the richness of the steak perfectly.

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