We love steak in the Foodie with Family household, but because it is so expensive, we rarely eat it. It’s definitely a special occasion food around here.
The other day, I posed a question to my husband that I had asked the Foodie with Family facebook community: “If you could have one meal made of any foods and money or health concerns were no object, what would you choose?” He thought for a moment or two then rattled off his ideal menu, “Surf and turf: Bacon wrapped filet mignon with lobster, mashed potatoes with gravy, rice pilaf, sushi, and limitless plates of that perfect bite we had on Martha’s Vineyard.*”
*The “perfect bite” that he meant was a small plate offering at the Grand Tasting at the Martha’s Vineyard Food and Wine Festival this past fall. It was a hamachi sashimi topped with uni and a yuzu vinaigrette made by Oya Boston. He tears up every time he thinks of it and speaks of it rapturously from time to time.
We had a little something to celebrate the other day, so I decided to do as good a job of providing a mini-version of his dream meal as I could pull together living where we live. The lobster was out because I didn’t want to drive an hour and a half. I opted for a half hour drive and some very delicious frozen snow-crab claws. The grocery store provided some beautiful, fresh, GREEN, green beans and everything I needed for our favourite rice pilaf. And the meat counter? God bless the Wegman’s meat department. They had absolutely GORGEOUS tenderloin filet steaks. I snapped up three of the prettiest ones they had, a pound of Wegman’s uncured applewood smoked pepper bacon (hubba hubba), and took my bounty home to create a meal to remember.
Some recipes ask you to “punch or cut round steaks from tenderloin filets” to create those pretty little rounds. EGADS. Are you kidding me? That runs the risk of wasting beef or having little bitty trimmings of tenderloin left over, and I’m FAR too frugal to do that. Every bit of those steaks was going into our dinner. I cut the steaks into two or three smaller steaks (depending on original size) and used my hands to gently squeeze the raw steaks into a more round steak. Wrapping them tightly with bacon took care of the rest.
I preheated the oven, melted some butter in a cast-iron skillet over low flame, seasoned the steaks, then raised the heat and seared the steaks on both sides then topped with just a little smoky bleu cheese. Into the oven went the pan to finish cooking. And then glory. We had such a meal.
You know what the best part of this was? Every one of us was dressed in our comfiest clothes with crazy hair. I didn’t have a single bit of makeup on my face. My husband and I were both wearing our slippers. And yet, the whole family sat at the table recognizing this was a special meal and employing our best restaurant manners. “Please” and “Thank you” abounded. People passed things instead of leaning across each other. There were moments of ACTUAL SILENCE. It was wonderful.
The next day, our eight year old asked wistfully, “Oh mama, when can we have the meat wrapped meat again?” Maybe it’s time to buy a steer. I wonder if there’s a breed of beef steer made entirely of tenderloin? A girl’s gotta dream…
- 2 to 3 tenderloin filet steaks (about 1¼ pounds)
- 6 to 8 slices smoked, peppered bacon (Use your favourite variety. It does not need to be thick cut.)
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 to 2 tablespoons smoky bleu cheese crumbles
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Cut the tenderloin filet steaks into 2 or 3 smaller portions each, depending on the size of the steak. The final portions should be about 2 to 3 inches across. Use your fingers to help gently press the corners of the pieces in to round the piece. Wrap a piece of bacon tightly around the outside of the steak, fixing it in place with a single toothpick. Be sure to fix the toothpick into place from side-to-side rather than up-and-down so you can easily turn the filets in the pan when cooking.
- Place a cast-iron or other heavy-bottomed, oven-safe skillet over low heat. Melt the butter in the pan. When it is fully melted, raise the heat to medium and let the butter become frothy. Season both sides of the bacon wrapped filets with salt and pepper. Place the filets in the frothy butter. Sear the steaks for about 2 minutes on the first side, or until a nice brownness and light crusty areas have developed, then flip the steaks and repeat on the second side. Do not squeeze the filets while cooking. If you have a pan with straight sides, you can rest the filets against the sides to help crisp the bacon, but this is not necessary. Sprinkle the tops of the filets with just a little bit of smoky bleu cheese. It's intended to season the dish but not be the star, so use about ½ a teaspoon per filet.
- Transfer the pan into the preheated oven and let the beef cook to your desired doneness, about 7-10 minutes, depending on how thick your steaks are. Use an instant read thermometer if you have one to ensure proper temperature.
- 115°F for Blue
- 125° for Rare
- 130° for Medium Rare
- 140° for Medium
- 150° for Medium Well
- 160° for Well Done
- Let rest in the pan for 3 minutes, then serve.