Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Steakhouse Titbits-- Filet Mignon Au Poivre

It's a steak and potato kind of day. Not comfort food but more contour food as meat and potatoes adhere to those body parts I don't need additions to. Steaks sit in my freezer along with beef stew, stroganoff and wagyu beef hash, fortuitously delivered by my brother. Let me tell you about this most generous, big-hearted, kind and caring brother I have. Samir Dhurandhar is much younger than me, though his colleagues have mistaken me for the younger sibling! It must've been the ambient lighting in his restaurant!! Being the youngest in the family, he has always been doted on, spoilt, and generally lavished on by my parents being the only son. For an Indian family a son is paramount, the scion to carry forward the family name. He started his kitchen adventures at the tender age of ten, making mashed potato sandwiches for tea time. They were awful, mouthfuls of cold rubber-like paste. My sister and I spoke complained loudly but Mum praised him to high heaven. That was encouragement enough and soon more palatable concoctions emerged from the kitchen. Culinary school was a logical choice. He honed his skills at The Culinary Institute of America and set off on the yellow brick road. For him Oz was in Dallas. He lives there now with his wonderful wife Lori and two beautiful kids Mia and Cole. They spoils us rotten when we visit.

Just before the storm hit us, he had sent my son steaks for his birthday. Sadly, they were lost to power failure and flood water. When we moved into our temporary digs, he sent us three humongous boxes of prepared food as it took a few weeks to get the gas connection going. He sends us flowers when we move back in. He sends us more steak. So I will grill tonight.

Filet Mignon au Poivre
Serves 4

4 8 oz Filet Mignons
2 tablespoons ground Black Pepper
2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon unsalted Butter

Pat the steaks dry.

Liberally coat steaks with ground pepper and salt.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place a cast iron pan on a high flame.

When it is hot add the teaspoon of butter.

Place the steaks in the pan.

Let the steaks sear on all sides. This should take 5 to 7 minutes.

Place pan in the oven and let them cook uncovered for 8 minutes. At this point they will be medium rare. If you would like them medium, cook then for 10 minutes. I hate to say it but well done is not a good option, but if that is what you crave, then cook then for 12 to 15 minutes.

Take them out of the oven and tent with foil. Let steaks sit for 5 minutes.

Dot steaks with Truffle Butter (recipe below) and serve with potato gratin, onion rings and greens.

Truffle Butter

4 tablespoons unsalted Butter
1 teaspoon Truffle Salt

Samir runs Nick and Sam's Steakhouse. The vibe is a sophisticated wine and dine experience. The lights are dim, steaks are of artisanal prime flavor and come in Texas-sized portions. I try to simulate the steakhouse atmosphere. Out come the steak knives. A bottle of Malbec is uncorked. The steaks sizzle in the pan.  Onion rings crisp up in the fryer, A creamy potato gratin bubbles in the oven. Creamed spinach graces the table.  Well-marbled Filet Mignons emerge from the oven. The sides take second place to the star of the show. Once again my little brother has done me proud!