Beef - Filet Mignon
mignon (French for "dainty fillet") is a steak cut of beef taken
from the tenderloin, or psoas major of the steer or heifer.
The tenderloin runs along either side of the spine, and is usually
harvested as two long snake-shaped cuts of beef.
The tenderloin (not to be
confused with the short loin) is sometimes sold whole. If the short end of
the tenderloin is cut into portions before cooking, that portion is known
as filet mignon, or the fillet, from the French boneless meat (mignon
meaning "small" as true mignons are cut from the smaller tail
end of the tenderloin).
The fillet is considered to be the most tender cut of beef, and one of
the most expensive. The average steer or heifer provides no more than 4-6
pounds of filet. Because the muscle is non-weight bearing, it receives
very little exercise, which makes it tender.
The same cut of beef can also be called:
- French: tournedos, filet de b�uf. (In France, though
beef "filet mignon" exists, the term doesn't usually refer
to beef, but instead to a tender and expensive cut of pork.)
- English (US): medallions, tenderloin steak
- English (UK & Ireland): fillet steak
- Argentina: Bife de Lomo
- Brazil: Fil� Mignon
Porterhouse steaks in the USA, equivalent to T-bone steaks in
Commonwealth countries, are large cuts which include the fillet. The small
medallion on one side of the bone is the fillet, and the long strip of
meat on the other side of the bone is the strip steak�in British
Commonwealth usage, only the strip steak is called the porterhouse.
The fillet can be cut into 1-2 inch thick portions, then grilled and
served as-is. One can also find the fillet in stores already cut into
portions and wrapped with bacon. High heat is the usual method for cooking
the fillet. Either grilling, pan frying, broiling, or roasting is
Bacon is often used in cooking the filet because of the low levels of
fat found in the filet. Filets also have low levels of marbling, or
internal fat. Bacon is wrapped around the filet and pinned closed with a
toothpick. This adds flavor and keeps the filet from drying out during the
Traditionally, filet mignon is seared on the outside using intense heat
for a short time and then transferred to a lower heat to cook the meat all
the way through. Filet mignon is often served rarer than other meats.
Those who prefer a more well-done steak can request a "butterflied"
filet, meaning that meat is cut down the middle, and opened up to expose
more of the meat to heat during the cooking process.
Page 1 of 1