Ina Garten’s Filet Mignon with Mustard and Mushrooms is just one of many delicious recipes published in her latest cookbook, Cooking for Jeffrey (Clarkson Potter, 2016). The book is a love letter to her husband of 48 years, her “most constant and appreciative audience,” as Garten puts it. In 1978, after she left a government job, Jeffrey encouraged her to pursue work she loved, so purchased a specialty food store in The Hamptons. That led to fame and fortune, including an Emmy award-winning Food Network series and ten best-selling cookbooks. The store’s name, “The Barefoot Contessa,” came with the purchase. It’s become synonymous with tasty recipes distilled down to key ingredients and approachable techniques that result in restaurant quality meals at home. Filet Mignon with Mustard and Mushrooms, beef tenderloin served with a sauce made with cremini mushrooms, Cognac, two types of mustard, and fleur de sel (French sea salt,) is a delicious example, and a great choice if you’re in the camp that prefers a romantic meal at home on Valentine’s, or any other night, for that matter. Complete your evening with a chocolate and wine pairing that will make you swoon.
When Jeffrey and I eat out in Paris, I love to order a classic filet of beef with mustard sauce. The rich beef and the creamy, spicy sauce are a great combination. This is my version of that dish, with some wild mushrooms added for even more flavor.
4 (2-inch-thick) filets mignons, tied (10 to 12 ounces each)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1½ tablespoons fleur de sel
2 teaspoons coarsely cracked black peppercorns
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 ounces cremini mushrooms, stemmed and sliced 1⁄4 inch thick
2 tablespoons dry sherry
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1⁄2 cup minced shallots (2 large shallots)
3 tablespoons Cognac or brandy
1¼ cups heavy cream
1⁄4 cup Dijon mustard
1⁄2 teaspoon whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
I make cracked black peppercorns with a mortar and pestle.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Be sure your stove is well ventilated!
Heat a large (10-inch) cast-iron skillet over high heat for 5 to 7 minutes. Pat the filets dry with paper towels and brush all over with the canola oil. Combine the fleur de sel and cracked pepper on a small plate and roll the filets on the top, bottom, and sides in the seasoning, pressing lightly to coat. When the skillet is very hot, add the filets and sear evenly all over (top, bottom, and sides) for about 2 minutes per side.
Transfer the steaks from the skillet to a sheet pan (set the skillet aside) and place in the oven for 8 to 12 minutes, until the steaks register 120 degrees on a meat thermometer for medium rare. Remove from the oven, cover the sheet pan tightly with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the butter in a medium (10-inch) saute pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and saute for 4 to 5 minutes, until they release their juices. Stir in the sherry and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until the mushrooms are cooked through. Sprinkle with 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper and set aside.
At the same time, add the olive oil to the skillet (don’t wipe it out), add the shallots, and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the Cognac, stirring to deglaze the skillet, and cook for 2 minutes, until the Cognac evaporates and the shallots are tender. Stir in the cream and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes, until thickened. Stir in the two mustards and taste for seasonings.
Remove the strings from the filets and place on 4 warm dinner plates.
Spoon the mustard sauce around the filets. Spoon the mushrooms on top of the filets and sprinkle each plate with parsley. Serve hot.
Reprinted from Cooking for Jeffrey. Copyright © 2016 by Ina Garten. Photographs by Quentin Bacon. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.
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