No misteak birthday dinner

For Max’s birthday dinner, he just wanted a classic steak and potatoes meal. Well, that was fine by me! I don’t get filet mignon too often, so it was kind of like a birthday dinner for me, too! Filet mignon (the “cute fillet” en français) is a tenderloin cut that is known as being very tender. Apparently it is in the perfect position in a cow to be all muscle (no marbling here) but not a weight-bearing muscle, which is why it’s so tender. I also found out from our friends at Wikipedia that in France, filet mignon on a menu is almost always a cut of pork and it is only filet de bœuf that refers to our mignon.

Max is easy to please, because when we have a fancy cut of fresh meat, he wants it rare, and doesn’t also need some kind of fancy sauce or gravy. If you are less easy to please, deglazing the pan you sear the steaks in with some wine, like Marsala, and then adding some broth and reducing would be a good choice. Obviously, a vegetable is necessary, so I went with asparagus and took the time to peel each stalk to make it special.

So here is the recipe for a complete birthday meal. Enjoy!

Filet Mignon with Steamed Asparagus and Garlic Mashed Potatoes (for 2)


2 steaks, 1/2 lb each

bunch of asparagus

entire bulb of garlic

≈1 lb potatoes

3 tbsp butter

1/4 cup milk

3 tbsp high heat oil, like safflower or canola

salt, pepper


Step 1) preheat your oven to 400 degrees and place a rack in the middle. Also set a large pot of water to boil.

Step 2) peel your potatoes, and chop them into about 1″ cubes, or as close as you can to getting everything in even pieces. Also peel your asparagus, save the peels. Add them to the water once it’s boiling.

Step 3) Cut the top off of your garlic bulb. You only need to cut off the tippy top, about 1/2 an inch. Wrap the bulb loosely in aluminum foil and put it in the oven once it’s preheated. This will want to cook for about 20 minutes, and if the house is starting to smell great, pull it out, unwrap the aluminum foil and see if it’s turning golden and the cloves are slightly squishy (poke them with a fork to determine this because they will be hot!). Keep the oven on!

Step 4) Are your potatoes done? Test by seeing if it is easy to poke through them with a knife. This should be about 15-20 minutes after they go in the water. If so drain them, and pass them through a ricer or mash them up however you want, adding 2-3 tbsp of butter, the milk, a couple pinches of salt, and the majority of the roasted garlic (how much garlic you use will depend on how big the bulb was and how much you like garlic-for the two of us, we used about 3/4 of a medium-sized bulb). Mash it all up and cover to keep it warm.

Step 5) Set a pot of water that fits your steamer to boil. Also start heating a stainless steel skillet over high heat.

Step 6) Add the oil to the pan. Once it’s hot, put your steaks on. They should cook about 2-3 minutes per side, then put them in the oven on a foil-covered baking tray/cookie sheet for about 12 minutes for medium-rare/rare. My recipe was originally for medium-rare but they seemed a little closer to rare, personally:

bleed on me

While the steaks are in the oven, add your asparagus to the steamer and cover.

Step 7) Plate the steaks on the reserved asparagus peelings. Add a big glob of mashed potatoes next to it, and a pile of asparagus wherever it fits. Asparagus can be buttered or not, but should be salted. Et voila!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DINNER! I forgot to take a picture until I’d already eaten a few bites. Oops.

max is 23. what a baby.


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