There’s come controversy whether the Filet Mignon is the “king of steaks” or not.  It’s certainly among the priciest cuts, and the most tender, but critics says that with that tender texture, comes a loss of flavor.  I say I understand both points of view; I’d also say that having to choose a favorite cut, is like asking a mom to choose a favorite child….so, why not love them all.  When I do cook filet mignon, one of techniques I like to employ, is the use of a compound (or Maitre’d) butter.  In this version, I use some tarragon to create a tarragon compound butter, and smother it over the steak after it’s cooked.  Tarragon is the primary herb in a béarnaise sauce, and goes magnificently with steaks.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!!


Ingredients for Filet with Tarragon butter (for 2)

  • 2 8oz to 10oz Filet Mignon steaks
  • 3 tablespoons butter; at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
  • Salt & pepper

Recipe Overview and Keys to Success

To make the best filet mignon with tarragon butter, just make sure to do the following:

  1. Cooking the steak is easily the most important part of this recipe.  I urge you to check out my Five Rules for the Perfect Steak and How to Pan Roast Steaks (of course you can do this on the grill as well).  Make sure you season the filet well; use a very hot pan (or grill) to get a good sear, and watch the doneness
  2. For the tarragon butter, I think you need to use fresh tarragon.  The texture and flavor of dried just isn’t the same, and the compound butter really needs fresh

Making Filet Mignon with Tarragon Butter

  • You should make the tarragon butter (up to a day in advance) first
  • Allow the butter to come up to room temperature in a small bowl
  • Finely chop about a tablespoon worth off fresh tarragon – you don’t need to be exact with the measurements
  • Combine the chopped tarragon and the butter together and mix until incorporated
  • If you’re using immediately, you can simply leave out.  If you’re making it in advance you can wrap and refrigerate for up to a day, or freeze for a couple weeks; once done we cook the steak
  • Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees
  • Season your steaks with salt and pepper, and allow them to come up to room temperature prior to cooking
  • Heat a heavy bottomed pan over the burner until it is slightly smoking; or get your grill super hot
  • Coat the steaks in oil (I use olive oil), and lay them in the hot pan; you should hear a very loud sizzle.  If you don’t, remove the filets and allow the pan to get hotter
  • Allow the steaks to sear on that side without touching them for 3 – 5 minutes; depending on the thickness of the steak with the thicker filets going longer
  • Turn the steaks over, and allow them to sear on the other side (again, no touching) for another 2 – 4 minutes; again depending on the thickness
  • Move the whole pan (filet’s and all) into your hot oven, and cook for another 2 – 4 minutes or until the steak are at the desired doneness
  • sFor an average size filet mignon (2 – 3 inches thick) the minimum times will get you to about med-rare

As the butter melts and the tarragon gets exposed to the heat from the steak you’ll get that beautiful aroma wafting up.  You can use this same technique with just about any herb you’d like.  Serve it up with your favorite sides, and you’re good to go.  Leave me a comment and let me know how it goes.

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