The term “filet mignon” is French for “dainty filet.” The term itself was first used in the book “The Four Million,” written in 1906 by O. Henry. He used the steak multiple times throughout his book to create moments of romance and as a symbol of scrumptious treat. Today, this cut of beef still represents romance, as it is frequently served by restaurants as the main course on Valentine’s Day.
Filet mignon is taken from the tenderloin of a cow or steer. The tenderloin is found on both sides of the spine, and because this particular muscle group is the least used, the tenderloin is the most tender. The portions of tenderloin that are cut from the smallest end of the tenderloin is filet mignon. It is most frequently served by restaurants in 4-, 6- or 8-oz. portions, and the price for a filet mignon dinner usually begins at $25. Filet mignon is generally cooked one of three ways: pan seared, grilled or cooked with bacon wrapped around it. Since the filet has very little fat, the bacon will add flavor and prevent the steak from becoming dry during preparation.
You can order filet mignon in various sizes and cuts. There is the prime cut, which is essentially the best cut there is. Another option is the cut from Angus cattle. These cattle are fed strictly vegetarian feed and are produce the highest quality beef that can be found. There is also the option of purchasing an entire filet mignon roast. For 32 oz., the average price is $130. You can also cut the filet into cubes and make kabobs, or slice the meat thin for making wraps.
When choosing the cut of filet mignon, it is best to opt for the cut with a bit of marbling in the center. Marbling is simply streaks of fat. This will add flavor to the cooked filet as well as provide more juice to the steak. Portions of filet mignon are between 1 and 2 inches thick, which is why the most common way to cook it is rare or medium rare. If they are cooked any longer, they can become tough. If you like your steak well done, request that the chef butterfly the portion before cooking it (a cut through the meat without splitting it completely in half to make it thinner). Filet mignon is often accompanied with a sauce, such as bernaise, to add flavor and to prevent the meat from becoming dry.
Regardless of the claims that eating red meat increases one’s risk for a heart attack, the website of the American Heart Association actually recommends ordering filet mignon when dining out. Because the meat is extremely lean, it is low in fat and calories and is also high in nutrients. Lean red meat is also a good source of protein, which the body needs to help repair and build new muscles. Organic cuts of filet mignon, such as those from Angus or free range cattle, contain vitamins B12 and B6. These vitamins reduce the risk of heart attack, making filet mignon a heart-healthy food. These vitamins also decrease the risk of colon cancer, and the high levels of zinc in filet mignon will prevent hardening of the arteries.