Whether you are dating, newly committed, or married forever, Feb. 14 is a good time to woo with a romantic meal and an expression of appreciation.
Filet mignon is prized for its tenderness — and who among us couldn’t use a little tenderness right now? It is one of the few steaks that needs no steak knife, whether cooked to medium-rare or medium well. For couples with different temperature needs, it is an ideal compromise. (Who among us couldn’t use a little more compromise?)
The balsamic caramel sauce is also an exercise in couples therapy: it appeals as much to those with a sweet tooth as those who go for more savory flavors. It is surprisingly simple to make, and can be prepared up to a couple of days in advance and reheated right before serving. And that means you can focus all your attention on your dinner companion.
Balsamic Caramel Sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Filet Mignon Steaks
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard (aka mustard powder)
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 8-ounce filet mignon, (about 1 ½-inches thick)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon chopped parsley for garnish, if desired
1. Make the sauce: Combine the sugar and balsamic in a small skillet over medium low heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 9 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the broth, butter and salt and pepper. Set aside and rewarm just before serving.
2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
3. Combine the black pepper, dry mustard, onion powder, garlic powder and salt in a small bowl. Pat the mixture over the entire surface of the steaks.
4. Heat the oil in a medium ovenproof skillet over medium high heat. Add the steaks and cook, without moving, until the underside is well-browned, about 4 minutes. Turn the steaks over and repeat. Top each steak with 1/2 teaspoon of the butter and transfer to the oven. Cook 7 to 8 minutes for medium-rare.
5. Just before serving, spoon the warmed balsamic caramel sauce over each steak. Garnish with chopped parsley if desired.