The perfect filet
At the very beginning of my career as a cook, we had four communions on a Sunday in May. Well over 100 guests were there for lunch, and all got a four-course meal. I was very excited weeks ago, because nothing was allowed to go wrong on the day, it would have been fatal for my reputation and my self-confidence. For about a third of the guests roast veal was ordered and for the remaining fillet of beef.
I was not worried about the veal, because veal makes even the best sauce. But the filet worried me. I told my butcher so he could get me enough perfectly hung filets. I have always been very demanding in terms of quality and, of course, after the recent scandals, it is much more. Everything went like clockwork, everyone was happy, I was happiest, knew the risk and now the pressure was off.
But only for the time being, because in the evening more than 80 guests came. And again beef fillet - but this time for specialists, because it was expressly 'bleu' ordered. 'Bleu' or 'saignant' means that the meat inside should still be bloody. But when around 21 o'clock the main course should go out, I realized with horror that the filet was not cooked properly. It was already 'a point' (medium), almost 'bien cuit' (through), so no longer bloody.
A disaster! For meat lovers are worlds in between. Should the biggest and heaviest day of my young career end in a fiasco?
Improvisation was announced! In record time, two new fillets were prepared and fried. At the same time I arranged to serve the guests a champagne sorbet, so that the time delay did not attract attention, officially of course 'as a greeting from the boss'. 15 minutes later, the most perfect 'filet bleu' in my kitchen, which I've ever made. The guests enthused: "The filet was the culmination of the day, and thanks for the surprise sorbet." Saved reputation and self-confidence - and the 'wrong' filet then tasted the kitchen brigade wonderful ...
So much excitement is the filet roast but not necessary. The success starts with the purchase. If eight to ten people sit at the table, it is advisable to fry the fillet as a whole. If it is less than eight, steaks (tournedos) are recommended. Ask your butcher to cut the steaks from the main piece of filet, five inches thick.
And so steaks are fried: Remove the meat from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before preparing and pat dry with a paper towel. Salt and pepper just before searing. The pan should be reliable (preferably made of iron or with a heavy bottom) and not much bigger than the meat. Heat a thick nut of butter over high heat until it stops singing and takes on color. If the butter burns, be sure to start over, that's no shame! (Not even if you prefer buttered lard, which can get hotter.)
Put the steaks in the pan and immediately raise again so that the hot butter runs underneath. Only then will color and taste become perfect. The rest of the hot butter with a tablespoon scoop and repeatedly over the steaks, which prevents the butter burns. Only when the bottom is caramelized sauté, turn the steaks, fry the other side as well.
Caution: The second side is a little faster, because the meat is already warmer. By light finger pressure can be quickly determine how far the cooking is.
A simple and very nice fillet dish is: Turn the rucola salad with olive oil and lemon juice and cook two slices of beef fillet no more than two centimeters thick in butter (as explained above, but very briefly). Grind a lot of black pepper from the mill over it. Serve the fillet with the salad. Deglaze the pan in the pan with a little water, quickly add a few grams of cold butter, add some smooth parsley and add the sauce over the fillet. Some slices of Parmesan over it, done. And wonderful! Let's taste it.
You have to look for first-class meat, preferably build good relationships with a butcher or an organic farm. The beef must be appetizing dark red (not already brown!), With white Fettderchen traversed, tender, but firm and elastic.