Port Wine Balsamic Filet Mignon

Years ago, I studied abroad in the beautiful city of Florence, Italy. During my 6 months in Tuscany I didn't have one bad meal--even the gas station food was something special. One evening my friend and I decided to treat ourselves to a beautiful steak dinner (on our parents' dime might I add, "Thanks, Mom!"). When the filet mignon came to the table it was covered in a sauce so dark, thick and luscious it almost looked like dark chocolate. Maybe it was the vino I was drinking but after the first bite I cried, I actually cried. The flavors were everything I wanted in a dish--the perfect balance of buttery, acidic, sweet, savory and umami. It was in that moment that I knew I had to recreate this dish at home. After some research and several taste tests, I got it! Now this dish has become one of my husband's favorites and we enjoy it together every Valentine's Day. It's the perfect date night meal you are sure to enjoy!
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 45 min
  • Active: 25 min
  • Yield: 2 servings
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Ingredients

For the filet mignon:

1 1/2 cups ruby port

1/2 cup dry white wine

Two 8-ounce pieces filet mignon (tenderloin steak)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 to 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 tablespoons quality balsamic vinegar

Microgreens, for serving

For the asparagus:

1 bunch very thin asparagus, tough ends removed

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 lemon

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Bring the port and white wine to a boil in a medium saucepan, lower the heat and simmer until the liquid has reduced to 2/3 cup.
  2. Sprinkle the steaks with salt and pepper and lightly dust with flour on both sides. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter. When the oil is hot, add the steaks to the skillet and top them with a few sprigs of thyme (just to get the essence). Cook for 4 minutes per side, or until they are cooked to your liking (see Cook's Note).
  3. Remove the steaks from the pan and set them aside on a plate to rest. Remove the thyme and discard. Add the wine reduction to the same skillet (do not clean the skillet) and bring to a simmer over medium heat, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits.
  4. Add the balsamic vinegar and simmer until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon, 2 to 5 minutes.
  5. Turn off the heat and whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons unsalted butter until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the steak and garnish with microgreens.
  6. For the grilled asparagus: Toss the asparagus with 3 tablespoons olive oil, the juice from 1/2 a lemon and some salt and pepper. Heat a cast-iron grill pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, grill the asparagus, turning occasionally, until it is tender and lightly charred, about 4 minutes. Season with more salt and a squeeze of lemon. Serve with the steak. 

Cook’s Note

To ensure the temperature of the steak is to your liking use a digital instant-read thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the side of the filet horizontally until it reaches the center. For medium-rare doneness, look for 130 degrees F, 140 degrees F for medium and 150 degrees F for medium-well.