Pan-seared filet mignon with balsamic tomatoes is a quick and elegant dinner for two.
How are you celebrating Valentine’s Day this weekend? Romantic restaurant? Drinks with friends? Quiet dinner at home? Temperatures will be hitting record lows here, so staying in and cooking a special dinner looks like the way to go. A couple candles, light a fire, maybe even a romantic movie?
When I think of romantic movies, I immediately think of the 80’s. Growing up, my crushes were often starring in John Hughes films, paired up with (the very fortunate) Molly Ringwald. From Judd Nelson’s bad boy in The Breakfast Club to heartthrob Jake Ryan (be still my heart) in Sixteen Candles, John Hughes spoke teenage girl better than, well, a teenage girl. He showed us that John Bender‘s criminally minded outcast had a brain and a heart and he made Jake Ryan…attainable. These movies may not fit the mold of a typical romantic comedy, but they definitely shaped my ideas of romance.
And don’t even get me started on the most romantic scene of all time. It wasn’t in a John Hughes movie, but Cameron Crowe is no slouch in teen angst department either. You’re simply made of stone if your heart doesn’t melt when John Cusack holds the boombox over his head to try to win back his girl in Say Anything. In Your Eyes would definitely be one of the top songs in the soundtrack of my life. And yes, we would be playing that soundtrack on cassette.
Clearly I’ve got romance on the brain and you obviously know what will be in my Netflix queue this weekend. But now it’s time to share the recipe for the perfect dinner for two before we hunker down to watch our movies. It’s elegant, easy and impressive…filet mignon with balsamic tomatoes. The filet is seared in a hot, hot pan to get a caramelized crust, basted in butter and topped with softened, jammy tomatoes with a burst of acid. I serve mine over a bed of peppery arugula, but mashed potatoes would also be crazy delicious.
This dish screams hot date, romance and Valentine’s Day. The fact that it’s fast and easy to prepare is just a bonus. There’s no need to pull a Lloyd Dobbler if you’re trying to woo someone special this weekend, so put away the boombox and serve this instead. Trust me, if you put your heart into this dish, there’s no way you’ll be given a pen.
- Filet Mignon
- 2 - 6 oz filet mignons
- salt and pepper
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 - 4 sprigs thyme
- 3 - 4 sprigs rosemary
- 2 whole cloves garlic peeled and smashed
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- Balsamic Tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 1 whole clove garlic peeled and smashed
- 1 tsp salt and a few turns of freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- *arugula for serving if desired
Filet mignon: Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
Heat a cast iron skillet or oven-safe saute pan over high heat until hot.
Season filets on both sides generously with salt and pepper.
Swirl oil in the pan and add the filets. Scatter the thyme, rosemary and garlic in the pan. Cook the filets 3 minutes without disturbing.
Flip and and cook an additional 3-4 minutes. Add 1 Tbsp of butter to each filet after you turn.
Place pan in oven for an additional 3-5 minutes to finish cooking until desired temperature, basting a couple times with the melted butter in the pan. (3 minutes in the oven should yield medium rare.)
Allow the steak to rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Balsamic tomatoes: Heat olive oil over high heat in a small saute pan until hot.
Add tomatoes, herbs, garilc, salt, pepper and sugar and cook until tomatoes begin to blister and soften.
Add the vinegar, reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until vinegar is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
To serve: Toss arugula with a couple teaspoons of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, salt and pepper and place on plate. Place filet over greens and top with tomatoes and a drizzle of the balsamic syrup.