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The perfect fillet

Updated: Nov 28, 2023

I just adore fillet, it is super versatile, very quick to cook, super lean and tender



The fillet is shaped like a cone, with a head, a heart and a tail. It is used for Beef Wellington, fillet steaks, or raw for Tartare (the very end of the fillet, finely minced) or Carpaccio (the head or the heart, cut in very fine, almost transparent slices).


Fillet Steaks:

  • Chateaubriand: thick slices from the head of 400gr each, usually one is perfect for 2 people

  • Tournedos: thick medallions from the heart of the fillet, 2-3cm thick and 150-200gr each

  • Filets mignon: thick smaller medallions from the tail of the fillet, a couple per person

Beef Wellington:

  • Use only the head and the hart, so that each end of your piece has a similar diameter

Tartare:

  • Do not use a mincer, but rather cut the tail in thin slices, then in thin strips, then in thin pieces, then using the kinfe chop it all up very finely

Carpaccio:

  • Cut the thicker ends in very thin slices

Temperature and cooking guidelines:

  • Before cooking, always ensure the meat is at room temperature

  • The fillet has no fat and does not retain moisture, therefore it is best served rare or medium rare to retain as much moisture as possible and remain as soft as possible (it will be as soft as butter!)

  • To cook it always use a heavy pan (better even an iron skillet), and wait until the pan (and, if using it, the oil or butter) is really very hot, so that you will quickly achieve a very nice crust which will prevent the release of the moisture

  • Always cook at a really high temperature

  • Steaks: to retain moisture and shape, tie them in a tight ring along the edges with a kitchen string (not rubber or plastic, just natural fiber)


Steaks on the griddle pan:

  • Chateaubriand:

    • Rare: 3ms per side, core temperature 45C degrees

    • Medium rare: 4mins 30secs per side, core temperature 50C degrees

    • Medium: 5mins 30secs per side, core temperature 60C degrees

    • Well done: 7mins each side, core temperature 70C degrees

  • Tournedos:

    • Rare: 2ms per side, core temperature 45C degrees

    • Medium rare: 3mins 30secs per side, core temperature 50C degrees

    • Medium: 4mins 30secs per side, core temperature 60C degrees

    • Well done: 5mins 30secs per side, core temperature 70C degrees

  • Filets mignon:

    • Rare: 1min per side, core temperature 45C degrees

    • Medium rare: 2mins per side, core temperature 50C degrees

    • Medium: 3mins per side, core temperature 60C degrees

    • Well done: 4mins per side, core temperature 70C degrees


Beef Wellington:

  • Use a heavy pot, just big enough to contain the fillet

  • Brown the fillet on a very high heat 2 mins each side (including the two ends, use tongs to keep it upright for those, avoiding piercing it with a fork)

  • Proceed with the recipe



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