Filet Mignon

cheerful1_gwSeptember 18, 2008

Our gang is getting together at our house this Saturday. One friend lost her mother two weeks ago, and my boss passed away from cancer last week. We're all due for a special meal.

We've always had discussions about what constitutes "fine dining". I want to try my hand at it by making filet mignon.

Is it hard to cook?

Any suggestions to enhance the "fine dining" experience? I draw the line at white linen tablecloths because everyone likes red wine.

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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

It's not hard to cook but it should be prepared according to each diners tastes. Some sadly, will only eat red meat if it's not red anymore. One reason I don't cook steaks for a crowd.
If you cook a whole beef tenderloin, the ends will get done before the middle and that might work. I'm sure someone will have a great recipe. I don't cook either often enough to have a recipe on my computer.
Prime rib, high heat roasted, is a good choice for a group because the outside will get done quicker than the middle and gives diners the choices again.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 2:55PM
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Agree with above. Cooking steaks for a crowd is a pain because of typical personal preferences. It's easy enough if you know what you're doing but if, as you said, you're "trying" may find yourself panicked trying to sort it out at the moment they need to come off.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 4:17PM
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A nice ribeye roast would be my preference. Done the way Shirley Corriher advises, low and slow, will result in a large pink center for those who like more rare beef and you'd still have the ends for those who like their beef well done. Just be sure to use a trustworthy meat thermometer. You could serve Yorkshire Pudding with the roast, or if that requires too much last minute attention, you could offer fingerling potatoes. Baby carrots with a balsamic vinegar glaze would be nice also.

Depending on the weather in your area, and your preferences of course, I'd think about starting with a seafood dish - either a shrimp cocktail or shrimp remoulade (maybe in a martini glass) if it's warm or a shrimp/lobster bisque if the weather is cooler.

If you want to offer a few appetizers with a cocktail before dinner, I think that puff pastry looks elegant and can provide a nice base for several different fillings (mushrooms, or spinach or crab, for example.) Small toast rounds with creme fraiche and caviar, or "upscale" deviled eggs topped with caviar, are other possibilities.

In our family, dessert usually means chocolate. Something lighter, after a rich dinner, could be a dark chocolate mousse. You could bake (or buy) some delicate cookies and serve one perched in the mousse glass. An alternative would be a cheese and fruit tray, served with after dinner drinks. If some of your guests would be disappointed to not have a sweet, maybe you could include dark chocolate dipped strawberries.

The dinner sounds like a very nice thing for you to do. Hope you all enjoy it.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 6:17PM
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Filet mignon sounds likea wonderful thing to do!
It's just a medallion of the beef filet...boneless, almost no fat and consequently expensive.
Either cook a whole...or a "chub" which is a couple of pounds cut from the center of the filet, or have individual steaks cut have them cut about an inch thick....sometimnes they will cut a2 inch chunk and butterfly it.
Then sesaon gently...I like a little salt and papper and a rub with a cut clove of garlic, and either pan fry in a hot cast iron pan or grill.
Don't over cook...I like mine "blue rare" but can eat it just pink.
If you want to sauce a blue cheese butter sauce is good ( melt blue cheese and butter together, season with a bit of pepper) or mushroom duxelles ( chop mushrooms really fine, gook in butter until the water evaporates, add a slurp of wine and cook until that cooks down a bit) or a best look for the recipe for's pretty much hollendaise with tarragon and a bit or wine vinegar.
Enjoy! Sounds like a good time.
If you can grill a steak or hamburger you can cook a filet mignon!
Linda c

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 9:16PM
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If you want everyone to feel pampered -- which is what fine dining is all about, in my opinion -- give attention to the details like place settings, flowers, music, a leisurely pace to the meal, a relaxed hostess, and of course great food and wine. Maybe you need someone other than yourself serving and clearing dishes (a neighbor or teenager or hired helper). I like the idea of a small wrapped gift at each plate, maybe an truffle. If you do things a little differently than what your gang usually does it will be an unforgettable evening.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 12:28AM
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I forgot to address the "fine dining" thing....but white linen can be bleached.....while polyester can't and red wine shows up as much on a patterened placemat as on anything else.
fine dining....hmm..
an attractive table setting...mats of cloth, real napkins not paper, candles...always candles, the more the better, separate bread and butter plates and salad plates. I like to plate the meals in the kitchen rather than serve family style.
It's all about the ambiance. A steak baked potato, steamed veggie and a tossed salad can be as much "fine dining" as chateau briand en croute complete with the fois gras, herbed fingerlings, asparagus with sesame oil and baby greens dressed with 40 year old balsamic and $20 a pint olive oil. It's all about how you present it.
Linda C

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 9:42AM
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I agree wholeheartedly with LindaC and Likesivy about presentation and attention to details. We use a lot of white cotton and linen in our home because it can be bleached clean (I also keep a bottle of cheap club soda in my laundry room.) Candles are lovely (as long as they're not scented) and fresh flowers are a must. I do keep background music very low (not that it was ever blaring) as several relatives & friends now have hearing problems.

I think that one of the most important things you can do is to plan, prepare ahead of time as much as possible, and then give yourself time for a brief nap or soak or some other way to relax for a little bit before you dress so that you can enjoy the party as much as your friends.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 11:00AM
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Anything can be special with the right ambiance. The key to a successful party is to not bite off more than you can chew. It's better to have a good roast chicken or something you know how to do, dress up the side dishes a bit (usually much easier than worrying about who likes rare vs well-done meat), have some pretty appetizers - easy when there's so many frozen and deli options at the markets these days; flowers on the table and a nice dessert afterwards with a choice of liqueurs and coffee.

I love entertaining and do a fair amount of it. Make it as stressless as possible for YOU and your guests will enjoy themselves regardless of what you serve.

Hey, I always thought red tablecloths were invented especially for us red wine drinkers, LOL!

Have a good time with your friends and celebrate life.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2008 at 3:44PM
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