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National filet mignon day celebrated today

Monday, August 13, 2012 - 2:40pm

Filet mignon (which translate as "cute" or "dainty" steak) is sure to impress any crowd.

Think of the two long muscles that run down either side of your spine. If you were a cow, those would be your tenderloins. Now, as a cow, the part of the tenderloin closest to your head would be called a filet mignon.

Some American steakhouses serve the middle of the tenderloin as a filet mignon, and while not technically the correct cut of meat, it's better for presentation because of its roundness.

Because the tenderloin doesn't carry any of a cow's weight, it's very tender. But, that means it doesn't have a lot of fat, and fat equals flavor. As a result, filets are often wrapped in bacon prior to cooking as that adds flavor and helps protect the delicate cut of meat.

A T-bone, or Porterhouse steak, has the tenderloin down one side and a New York strip down the other. It's essentially two steaks in one.

The simplest, and arguably best, way to serve a filet mignon is to sear it at high heat after simply seasoning it. As with most cuts of meat, it's important to let the steak rest before cutting into it.

Filets are often served with sauces to add flavor. A popular option is to serve the steak au poivre style. This classic French preparation involved crusting the filet with coarsely cracked peppercorns and serving it with a cognac based sauce. Heavy cream can be added to the sauce and then reduced. 

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