Pepper Crusted Filet Mignon with Blue Cheese Chive Butter
This is a great recipe that certainly warrants spending a little extra on high quality beef (friends in NYC should head to Lobel’s) and it’s perfect for a special occasion dinner at home. Rather than just sprinkle pepper over the steaks, the team at Cook’s Illustrated came up with a clever technique that reduces the peppercorns' heat by briefly simmering them in olive oil, and the results are stellar. The steaks are further enhanced with a classic pairing of blue cheese and chives – I used Point Reyes Original Blue, one of my favorites. Serve them with some sautéed spinach and your favorite red wine and enjoy the rave reviews from your guests.
For the Pepper Crusted Filet Mignon:
5 tablespoons black peppercorns, cracked (see illustration below)
5 tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons
1 tablespoon kosher salt
4 center-cut filets mignons, 1 ½ to 2 inches thick, 7 to 8 ounces each, trimmed of fat and silver skin
- Heat peppercorns and 5 tablespoons oil in small saucepan over low heat until faint bubbles appear. Continue to cook at bare simmer, swirling pan occasionally, until pepper is fragrant, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. When mixture is room temperature, add salt and stir to combine. Rub steaks with oil and pepper mixture, thoroughly coating top and bottom of each steak with peppercorns. Cover steaks with plastic wrap and press gently to make sure peppercorns adhere; let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
For the Blue Cheese Chive Butter:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ ounces blue cheese (mild), room temperature
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
⅛ teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons minced fresh chive
- Combine butter, cheese, red pepper flakes and salt in medium bowl and mix with stiff rubber spatula until smooth. Fold in chives. Set aside while preparing steaks. (Can be made ahead and refrigerated, but bring to room temperature before cooking steaks)
- Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position, place rimmed baking sheet on oven rack, and heat oven to 450 degrees. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in 12-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until faint smoke appears. Place steaks in skillet and cook, without moving steaks, until dark brown crust has formed, 3 to 4 minutes. Using tongs, turn steaks and cook until well browned on second side, about 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and transfer steaks to hot baking sheet. Roast 3 to 5 minutes for rare, 5 to 7 minutes for medium-rare to medium. Transfer steaks to wire cooling rack and top with 1 – 2 tablespoons of blue cheese butter mixture. Let rest, loosely tented with foil, for 5 minutes before serving.