Eric and I recently celebrated our five year anniversary. That day, he summed up our time together like this, “5 years, 4 states, 3 animals, 2 crazy people and 1 perfect little Clara!” We didn’t have big plans to celebrate, mostly because Clara is too small to go to a nice restaurant with us and we were headed to the beach with friends. What should’ve been less than four hours in the car turned into six and involved me getting into the backseat to pump a bottle for Clara because we were stuck on a bridge and couldn’t even pull off somewhere for her to eat. What can I say? Parenthood isn’t always glamorous, but I wouldn’t have changed a thing about that day. To illustrate just how desperate we were to stop, we both got excited when we found a Sonic and ended up having fast food on our anniversary. All we could do was laugh at the hilarity of the situation. To make up for our lack of a fancy anniversary meal, we made steaks. Not just steaks – bacon wrapped filets mignons topped with roasted garlic compound butter.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always preferred pan-seared steaks to grilled ones, and a steak topped with compound butter is just plain decadent. I used olive oil and sea salt butter, and it was so delicious that I seriously could have licked the wrapper. It was really that good, with just the right amount of salt, a rich flavor and an ultra creamy texture. I knew I wouldn’t need to add much to it to make a compound butter that would really shine. Since it’s hard to beat garlic and butter, I ran with that and came up with a simple but flavorful compound butter that went perfectly with our steaks and baked potatoes.
This dinner was the meal to end all meals. There aren’t many ways to make filets mignons any more awesome than it already it is. In fact, I can only think of two and we did both of them in this recipe. First, wrap the filets in bacon. Second, top them with a delicious compound butter. Done and done. To cook the steaks, we seared them in our cast iron skillet before finishing them in the oven. This gave the outside a nice crust while the inside remained buttery smooth. I used both roasted and raw garlic in the compound butter, which gave it a sweet, mellow flavor with just a bit of punch. The butter was already perfectly salted, and I added fresh parsley and black pepper to finish it off.
- YIELD: 2 servings
For the compound butter:
1 whole head garlic, papery skins removed and about ½-inch cut off the top to expose cloves
1 teaspoon olive oil
8 tablespoons butter with sea salt
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the steaks:
2 slices bacon
2 filet mignon steaks, 7 to 8 ounces each and about 1½ inches thick
2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make the butter, preheat oven to 400º. Place the head of garlic on a square of foil and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap tightly and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cloves feel soft to the touch. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Press each clove into a small mixing bowl and smash with a fork. Add the butter, minced garlic, parsley and black pepper and stir to combine. Using a rubber spatula, scrape butter onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Roll into a log, then twist the ends closed. Refrigerate until just firm enough to slice. (You can leave the butter at room temperature if you’re spreading it on bread. I just wanted it to be cold enough so as not to melt as soon as I put it on my steak.)
To make the steaks, adjust oven rack to the lower-middle position and place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack. Preheat oven to 450º. Wrap 1 slice of bacon around each filet, overlap the ends and secure with a toothpick. Place a large, heavy-bottomed skillet (we recommend a cast iron one) over high heat. While skillet is heating, rub each side of the steaks with ½ teaspoon of oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Place the steaks in the hot skillet and cook, without moving, for about 3 minutes or until they are well browned and a crust has formed. Using tongs, turn the steaks and cook for another 3 minutes, or until a crust has formed on the second side. Use the tongs to turn the steaks on their sides to slightly crisp the bacon all the way around.
Using tongs, transfer the steaks to the heated baking sheet. Cook in the oven for 4-6 minutes for rare, 6-8 minutes for medium rare and 8-10 minutes for medium. When steaks have reach desired doneness, transfer to a plate and tent with foil. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
To serve the steaks, place on a plate and top with a slice of the roasted garlic compound butter.