Simple Filet Mignon with Wedge Salad

This should really be two recipe posts because knowing how to craft and serve a perfectly seared Steakhouse filet mignon is a fine skill all its own. And when it comes to a cool and crisp wedge salad, my homemade version could not be easier. From start to finish, this meal should take 45 minutes and dirty one bowl and one skillet.

First, I want to address this steak. The tenderloin runs along the spine and is usually cut as two long snake-shaped cuts of beef. The tenderloin (not to be confused with the short loin) is sometimes sold whole. If the short end of the tenderloin is cut into portions before cooking, that portion is known as filet mignon or the fillet.

The fillet is considered to be the most tender cut of beef, and the most expensive. The average steer (male) or heifer (female) provides no more than 4-6 pounds of filet. Because the muscle is non-weight bearing, it receives minimal exercise, which makes it tender. Currently, at my local grocery store, it is ranging from $16 a pound (for choice) to $27 a pound (for prime). Cooking a steak at home, however, is still much cheaper than the price tag at a Steakhouse.

I never use a grill, but instead, cook our steaks in a hot cast iron skillet on a gas stove and finish in the oven. For this particular dinner, I cooked the bacon for our wedge salad first and then utilized the drippings to sear the steaks in the same pan. If I were not also making a wedge salad, I might either coat the steaks in olive oil and use a dry, hot pan or melt butter in the pan before adding the steaks. I will talk more about your cooking options below.