Friday, October 1, 2010

Pepper Crusted Beef Tenderloin

The only type of culinary "training" I have is a couple of cooking classes with local chef Grady Spears.  If you know me then you know I am a big fan of his food.  I learned this method in his class but my steaks come out very different from his.  That said, almost every time I go to "Grady's" I end up ordering the tenderloin because if I'm eating steak that I didn't cook, I want a steak that Grady made.

What you need for this to work well is a very, very hot skillet. I have used cast iron and non-stick for this and I will say the cast iron gives a better sear but no matter how well its seasoned the brown sugar is going to stick to the pan and you'll end up re-seasoning after you finish.  I suggest a non-stick pan but one that can go in the oven. If you don't have a vent hood that is vented outside your house then you will need to open some windows.  This is going to get really smokey due to the sugar caramelizing.  Don't worry, it's going to smell like its burning but its not.  You want a crust to form on the steak.

Your oven times may vary. My times are based on my oven. Nothing like a little trial and error with an expensive cut of meat right? 

I like to make a pan sauce to go along with these steaks.  De glaze the skillet with some red wine (I usually use Sangre Del Toro from Spain, it makes a nice sauce) and toss in some garlic, onion, unsalted butter and a sprig of rosemary.  Remove the rosemary before you serve.  I put a couple spoonfuls under the steak on the plate.


2-4  2 inch tall Beef Tenderloins (Filet Mignon)
1/2 cup brown sugar or shaved Mexican Piloncilla
1 tablespoon course ground black pepper
1 tablespoon (scant) kosher salt


Let your steaks sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Dry the steaks with a paper towel.
Place a skillet on your hottest burner and turn it up to high. You want a smoking hot pan.
In a large bowl mix together brown sugar, pepper and salt.
Roll the steaks in the mixture, pressing it into the meat. Coat heavily on all sides.
Place the steaks in the skillet and cook for about 2 minutes or until the bottom surface is completely seared.
Turn the steak over and start searing the other side. Cook for another minute in a half to 2 minutes.
Place the skillet in the oven and cook as follows:

        Rare:    7 minutes
        Medium Rare:  8 minutes
        Medium:  9 minutes
        Medium-Well: 10 minutes
        Well:  10+ minutes. (Not suggested)

After the selected amount of time has passed remove steaks from the skillet and place on a plate to rest.  Let the steak rest for at least 10 minutes before you serve it to allow the juices to settle.

No comments:

Post a Comment