How to Cook Filet Mignon in a Pan

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Filet mignon is an exceptionally tender cut of meat and therefore requires very little cooking time. Pan-searing is a great way to prepare this cut because it sears the outside, trapping all of the juice and flavor inside. Unlike grilling, pan-searing also leaves you with a pan full of brown bits, called fond, that can be used to make a flavorful sauce. Learning how to cook filet mignon in a pan is not difficult if a few steps are followed.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 filet mignon steak
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • Frying pan or skillet
  • Tongs or spatula
  • Aluminum foil
  • Bring your steak to room temperature and season with salt and pepper.

  • Add butter to your pan and heat over medium-high until melted.

  • Add the steak and lower the heat to medium.

  • Cook the steak on one side for three to five minutes -- closer to three minutes for rare and closer to five minutes for medium.

  • Flip the steak using tongs or spatula. Cook for three to five more minutes.

  • Remove the steak from pan and place on a plate. Loosely tent with foil to keep the steak warm.

  • Let the steak rest for five to 10 minutes.

  • Slice, plate and serve.

Tips & Warnings

  • Flipping the steak only once allows a beautiful crust to form on each side.
  • Bringing the steak to room temperature, or "tempering," is important. Room temperature meat cooks faster and more evenly than chilled steak.
  • Resting is an important step -- it allows the juices in the meat to settle and redistribute, resulting in a juicier steak. If you cut into it too soon, the juices will run out.
  • A food thermometer is the best way to check your meat's doneness. Rare is 120 degrees Fahrenheit; medium-rare 126 F; medium 135 F; medium-well 145 F; and well-done is 160 F.
  • After removing the pan from the heat, the steak will continue to cook - -this is called "carry-over" cooking. Being aware of this will help you avoid overcooking your meat.
  • Never use a fork to flip your steak. Piercing the meat while it cooks will allow juices to escape, resulting in a dry fillet.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images
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