Filet Mignon with Spiced Butter

serves 2

Cooked artichokes
1/4 lb haricots verts or other thin green beans, trimmed
Spiced butter, prepared (see below)
2 (1-1/2- to 2-inch-thick) center-cut filets mignon (beef tenderloin steaks; 6 to 7 oz each)
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp ground Black Pepper
1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Cup dry white wine
1/4 Cup veal demi-glace (or reduced beef stock)
Special equipment: an instant-read thermometer

Ingredients for the spiced butter:

1/4 tsp Coriander seeds
1/4 tsp Cumin seeds
1/4 tsp Caraway seeds
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/4 Cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp dried Red Pepper “Pizza” Flakes
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp finely-grated fresh lemon zest
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
Special equipment: an electric coffee/spice grinder

Prepare Spiced Butter:  Finely grind the seeds (coriander, cumin, and caraway) in spice or a (well-cleaned) coffee grinder, then transfer to a small bowl. Add butter, fresh cilantro, red-pepper flakes, salt, lemon zest, and lemon juice and stir until ingredients are well-combined. Mound the butter in the middle of a sheet of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Using sheet as an aid, form into a 3-1/2-inch log. Chill the spiced butter, still wrapped in wax paper, in the refrigerator until mixture is firm, at least 1 hour.

Prepare vegetables: Cut artichokes across the bottoms into 3/8-inch-thick slices; cut the stems on the diagonal into 3/8-inch-thick slices as well. Transfer slices to a lightly oiled 1-1/2- to 2-quart baking dish and set aside.

Cook haricots verts in a 3- to 4-quart pot of salted boiling water, uncovered, until beans are crisp-tender, about 4 min. Drain vegetables in a colander and transfer immediately to a bowl of ice and cold water (this stops the beans cooking and keeps them “al dente”). Drain vegetables and pat them dry, then toss with the artichoke slices in the baking dish. Cut off a 1-inch slice of the chilled spiced butter, and chop the butter-chunk into little bits. Dot the vegetables with the chopped butter. Cover baking dish with plastic wrap, setting aside until ready to bake.

Cook steaks and vegetables: Move oven rack to the middle position, and preheat to 350°F.

On the stove, heat a heavy 8- or 9-inch skillet (not nonstick, preferably cast iron), over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes. While skillet is heating, pat the steaks dry, and season both sides of each steak liberally with salt and pepper.

Add oil to the hot skillet, swirling to coat the bottom of the pan. Drop the steaks into the pan (being careful not to splatter hot oil on yourself!), and sear each piece of meat on one side. Do not fiddle with the steaks or move them. Sear meat until crusty and well-browned on that one side, about 3-1/2 minutes. Turn steaks over and sear the other side 3-1/2 minutes more. Use tongs to hold steaks “sideways,” and brown the steaks’ edges just briefly (less than 1 minute total) before transferring to a small baking dish. (Be sure to reserve the skillet – you’ll need it later on.) Cook steaks, in the baking dish, in the 350F oven until a meat thermometer inserted horizontally into center of steaks registers 125°F (for medium-rare). This should take about 12 to 18 minutes.

After the steaks have begun to cook in the oven, put the baking dish with the vegetables in the oven and bake, uncovered, until the butter is melted and the vegetables are completely heated through. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove steaks from the oven and top each with a 1/4-inch-thick slice of the spiced butter. Loosely cover the butter-topped steaks with foil, and allow to stand in baking dish about 5 to 10 minutes.

While steaks stand, deglaze the skillet: add wine to the skillet. Over a medium-high heat on the stove, bring the wine to a boil, stirring and scraping up the tasty brown bits the skillet bottom. Reduce heat slightly and reduce liquid to about 1 Tbsp, about 5 minutes. Stir in demi-glace (or broth) and any juices yielded from the steak-baking oven dish into the deglazed skillet. Bring mixture to a boil again over moderately high heat. Cut remaining chilled spiced butter into pieces and add to skillet one piece at a time, swirling skillet until each chunk of butter is thoroughly incorporated as the sauce becomes thick and creamy.

Divide the vegetables and steaks among the plates. Pour pan sauce over each serving.

Adapted from Epicurious.