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Seared Filet Mignon
serves 4

Determining when the meat is cooked to your liking is key to a good steak, so pay close attention to the visual cues in step 3. If you choose to serve the steaks with one of the sauces that follow, have all the sauce ingredients ready before searing the steaks. Begin the sauce while the steaks are in the oven. To cook six steaks instead of four, switch to a 12-inch pan and use 6 teaspoons of olive oil.

4 center-cut filets mignon, 1 ½ inches thick,
7 to 8 ounces each, dried thoroughly with paper towels
4 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, place rimmed baking sheet on oven rack, and heat oven to 450 degrees. When oven reaches 450 degrees, heat 10-inch heavy-bottomed skillet (not nonstick) over high heat on stovetop until very hot.

2. Meanwhile, rub each side of steaks with ½ teaspoon oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Place steaks in skillet and cook, without moving steaks, until well-browned and a nice crust has formed, about 3 minutes. Turn steaks with tongs and cook until well-browned and a nice crust has formed on second side, about 3 minutes longer. Remove pan from heat, and use tongs to transfer steaks to hot baking sheet in oven.

3. Roast 2 to 4 minutes for very rare (center of steaks will appear cherry red and feel very soft and loose when cut with tip of paring knife), 4 to 6 minutes for rare (centers will appear red and soft), 6 to 8 minutes for medium-rare (centers will appear pink and feel firm but juicy), or 8 to 10 minutes for medium (centers will appear light pink and feel firm and compact). (After transferring steaks to oven, proceed with pan sauce.) Transfer steaks to large plate; loosely tent with foil or cover with bowl (see illustration on page 60), and let rest about 5 minutes before serving.

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