Monday, June 20, 2011

Hoisin-Marinated Filet Mignon with Lime Compound Butter

It basically looks like a normal steak, right?  It's a filet, so unless I overcooked it, it's probably pretty good.  But how different could it be from any other steak you've enjoyed?

Well, I love a good steak, and this may have been the best one I've ever had.  I think it's official: this is the only steak marinade I will ever use: one part Worcestershire sauce to three parts soy sauce to six parts hoisin sauce, plus ginger to taste.  I'm not exactly sure how long the marinating process needs to take to achieve these results... I gave these steaks 24 hours.

I didn't want John to have to grill on his special day, especially because I think our grill needs a good cleaning.  So, paying no heed to the inefficiency of using the oven during summer in the South, I heated up my ovenproof skillet, seared the steaks on both sides over the range, then let them cook in the oven at 450 degrees.

Now despite what I've said so far, if I claimed that process went off without a hitch, I'd be lying.  First of all, I got my skillet so hot that the steaks started to char before they could really establish a good crust and cook for the full three minutes per side recommended by most how-to guides I've seen.  It ended up being only about a minute of searing per side, then I put the pan in the oven.

You may not know it to read my blog, but my husband and I have very similar tastes.  He and I have shared many of our best times over food.  We do have one major disagreement over the alleged satanic qualities of onions, but other than that we generally say "mmmmmm!" to the same concoctions.  However, when we order steaks at a restaurant, I make sure to eat mine so that only I can the inside of it, because my man just can't help but be a little repulsed by the idea of raw beef.  I order medium-rare, but I'd never send it back for being even redder than that.  But he likes a good, solid medium: pink enough so that the meat is still moist and tender, but cooked enough that a clear unraveling of proteins has occurred.  So I took my steak out after about six and a half minutes, and I gave John's steak eight minutes.  When you pay upwards of $20 per pound for filet, you damn well better not overcook it.

Well, mine was on the rare side of medium-rare, and I loved every second of it.  My husband loved his, too... until he started to get closer to the middle.  No problem, I said.  Stop right there, let the oven preheat, and we'll pop it back in.  That turned out to be a little bit more complicated than I anticipated: we had to take it out, test it, and put it back in three times before it looked good to him, and even then it was still slightly too red.  The steaks were pretty thick, after all.  Especially in light of the reduced searing time, I probably should have left his in for a good ten minutes the first time.  It sounds like an ordeal and maybe a disappointing Fathers' Day dinner for him, but he would want you to know that regardless of the cooking issues, the flavor on those steaks was amazing.

I made a compound butter by softening half a stick, mixing in some lime zest, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and ginger, and re-chilling it in the fridge the day before.  Given how incredible the steaks tasted, it was completely unnecessary, but a nice addition all the same.

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