Thursday, February 11, 2016

Filet Mignon with Warm Shallot Vinaigrette, Sautéed Mushrooms and Toasted Baguette

Filet Mignon with Warm Shallot Vinaigrette, Sautéed Mushrooms and Toasted Baguette

When my birthday occurred a couple of months ago, Mrs. Stuntman took me out to dinner the day prior because she had to work on the evening of my actual birthday. On my actual birthday, I posted a picture of the dish I ate for dinner on instagram. Call this an update but this could easily be served this weekend for Valentine's Day if you don't want to go out to eat.

Inspiration Behind the Dish

I was surfing the net recently and came across a dish that won a Top Chef challenge in a prior season. It paired halibut with a vinaigrette. Vinaigrettes are ubiquitous in dressing salads, but are more uncommonly used by home cooks as a sauce to complement a protein and I wanted to explore the idea. In addition, the supermarket I normally patronize had USDA Choice New York steaks on sale, however they were a little too large of a portion for my family so I purchased filets instead. A quick review of The Flavor Bible revealed that beef steaks pair well with shallots, mushrooms and Dijon mustard.

Dish Details

I would like to think that this dish would be served at any fine dining steakhouse. I adapted a vinaigrette from Food & Wine but the remaining components of this dish are original.


2 shallots, sliced thinly
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup Italian parsley leaves
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 8-ounce beef tenderloin steaks, approximately 1-inch thick
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 baguette, cut into 1/2" slices on a bias
Basil leaves, cut into chiffonade (for garnish)


1. Prepare the vinaigrette. Combine the shallots and 1/2 cup olive oil in a saucepan over medium low heat and sweat, stirring frequently until softened, approximately 10 minutes.

Transfer the contents of the saucepan to a blender and let it cool slightly. Add the vinegar and mustard into the blender and purée until smooth. Add in the parsley and pulse until finely chopped. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper to taste, then keep warm over low heat.

2. Sear the steaks. Place 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and heat until the oil starts to smoke. While the oil is heating, season the filets with salt and pepper then add them to the skillet to sear, approximately 4 minutes. Flip the steaks to sear on the opposite side but reduce the heat to medium, until desired doneness is reached, approximately 6 minutes for medium rare.

3. Sauté mushrooms and finish the dish. If the skillet is dry once the steaks are removed, add the remaining teaspoon olive oil then the mushrooms. Sauté the mushrooms until they shrink, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and stir until fragrant, approximately one minute, then deglaze with the white wine, scraping any fond from the pan. Season with salt and pepper and continue to simmer until the wine has evaporated.

While the wine is reducing, put the baguette slices on a aluminum foil lined sheet pan and season with salt and pepper. Place under the broiler, checking every 30 seconds until the desired color is reached.

To plate, follow the classic design of starch at 10 o'clock, protein at 2 o'clock with sauce under the protein and vegetables at 6 o'clock by spooning a tablespoon of vinaigrette onto a plate right of center, then placing the filet onto the vinaigrette at the center of the plate. Using a slotted spoon, drizzle some mushrooms off to the side of the filet then lean a baguette slice against the filet on the opposite side of the vinaigrette and garnish the dish with the chiffonade basil.

Final Thoughts

This dish is about as spontaneous as I'll get because I did not plan to publish it here when I went shopping for the ingredients in the morning I prepared it. In fact, I composed it while I was there in the supermarket based upon the ingredients I knew I had in my pantry. Still, it was well balanced with the baguette offering a texture contrast. In addition, the acidity of the vinaigrette balanced out the sweet flavors in the basil and the savory steak from the standpoint of the flavor profile. From an execution standpoint, I altered my method slightly in preparing a filet because I found that, by following my prior method, the center was too rare for my taste and, in many cases, blue in the center.