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The best filet mignon is perfection all by itself, but crusted filet mignon is perfection times two. Crusted filet mignon is simply a filet steak that has been prepared with a crust of breading, herbs, cheese, or other ingredients. The crust can top the meat, enfold it around the sides, or embrace the entire piece of steak, depending upon the texture and density of the crust and the whims of the cook.
Few things impress guests more than well-crusted filet mignon, although the process is really not difficult. The clever cook can create a delicious and very simple herb crust by lightly browning well-minced garlic in olive oil and adding fresh herbs such as marjoram, rosemary, and thyme. After coating the filets on all sides, the cook allows the meat to marry the crust in the fridge while attending to other tasks. After a few hours, the steaks are ready for the grill.
An equally simple approach requires few ingredients and fewer steps. The cook rubs the filets with a combination of red, black, and white cracked peppercorn and cooks them briefly in olive oil or butter. The filets then go into a medium-hot oven for finishing, while the cook panfries thinly sliced onion in the same skillet, adds red wine, then reduces it by half. The filets leave the oven, jump into the skillet for a quick cooking on both sides, and are ready to serve.
Another clever, flavorful crust begins with dried mushrooms that have been ground to powder in the food processor. After the cook has coated the steaks top and bottom with the dried mushrooms, it’s time to sauté them on the stove top in a seasoned butter mixture made with dried herbs, chives, and garlic. After the filets have been plated, the cook can add a bit of the browned herb butter to the top. For greater depth of flavor, adding just a splash or merlot or other red wine to the seasoned butter first is a good idea.
A very popular, somewhat unusual way to create crusted filet mignon combines bleu cheese with bread crumbs and a little very cold butter or olive oil. After a very brief visit to the frying pan, where they are seared on both sides, the filets jump onto an oven sheet. The cook presses the bleu cheese crust mixture into the tops of the filets, and they finish cooking in the oven. While the steaks cook, the cook is busy deglazing the pan with a little cognac, cooking it until it reduces by half then topping the crusted filet mignons with the cognac glaze before serving.
This sounds like a great way to add a little extra texture and flavor to an already awesome dish! Next time I go out for a special dinner, I think I will have to look for restaurants that serve crusted filet mignon.