This classic French dish is an oldie but a goodie. Being lucky enough to live in a country where you can barbeque outside just about all year long, fillet steak is the only steak I prefer to pan fry rather than grill. Somehow the char of the grill I think interferes with the delicate flavour of the fillet steak whereas other cuts are robust enough in flavour to carry it. The timings below will result in a steak that is medium, verging on medium rare so adjust the cooking time accordingly if you prefer your meat well done.
Ingredients – Serves 4 – Adapted from Ina Garten, Barefoot in Paris
4 thick cut fillet steaks
1 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup chopped eschallots (3 to 4 eschallots)
1 cup beef stock
1/2 cup good Cognac or brandy
Place the filets on a board and pat them dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the filets with salt and then press the black pepper evenly on both sides. Allow to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.
Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter and the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat until the butter almost smokes. Place the steaks in the pan and lower the heat to medium. Saute the steaks for 3 minutes on one side and then for 2 minutes on the other side, for medium rare. Remove the steaks to a serving platter and cover tightly with aluminum foil.
Meanwhile, add the eschallots and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the beef stock and cook over high heat for 4 to 6 minutes, until reduced by half, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the Cognac and cook for 2 more minutes. Off the heat, swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Serve the steaks hot with the sauce poured on top.