A Classic Italian Valentines Day Entrée
Filetto Mignon Casanova is a recipe that I learned during my first Italian restaurant apprenticeship. Very few chefs know about this recipe and many of those who did have simply forgotten about this Italian steak entrée altogether.
Valentines Day is the best time to break out old classic romantic recipes. Chateaubriand, Veal Princess, Porterhouse For Two and Blue Crab Stuffed Lobster Tail are some of the most popular Valentines Day entrées. These items exude indulgence during a a long romantic evening of sipping wine, which reaches a crescendo when fine desserts are served.
Two cuisines that offer the finest classic romantic food are French and Italian. French and Italian chefs simply go off the end of the scale when designing a Valentines Day menu. Even if the menu is 5 special du jour offerings at a café, each item is designed for guests that want to spend one special evening intertwining and dining the night away.
Filetto Mignon Casanova is one of the greatest Valentines Day entrées that I have ever seen. While apprenticing, a great Italian chef that ran this Valentines Day special du jour on a special menu and he called every cook in the kitchen over to show how the steak entrée was supposed to be made. The chef taught many special cooking technique nuances while he was cooking the example of Filetto Mignon Casanova for us cooks to see.
During the cooking demonstration the chef taught the little details that really make the difference between a simple meal and a romantic entrée. Basically, the romantic cuisine lesson that the Italian chef taught was how tradition, class, perfection and indulgent tasteful ingredients all add up to an irresistible romantic entrée that is perfect for Valentines Day.
Filetto Mignon Casanova is as indulgent as it gets! The filet mignon steak has to weigh at least 8 ounces and it has to be USDA Prime Grade Beef, which is the best. The filet mignon is stuffed with oysters and aromatic herbs, then wrapped with pancetta. The finished steak is sauced with a red wine and truffle infused Italian Brown Sauce (classic demi glacé). Shaved white truffle is traditional, but black truffle is a good choice too.
Indulgent romantic classic cuisine is where its at on Valentines Day. There are fancy recipes that are designed to please the ladies, then there are bold recipes that are designed to please the men. Filetto Mignon Casanova is designed to put the letter "M" in the word "Machismo" in a big way! Filetto Mignon Casanova is romantic masculine Valentines Day entrée that is designed for the manly man!
Filetto di manzo Casanova is named after one of the greatest lovers of all time. Giacomo Casanova! Giacomo Casanova was a famous adventurer and painter from Venice, Italy. Casanova was an infamous womanizer and he was the king of the art of seduction! Besides his autobiography, many plays, operas, movies and books have been written about the greatest lover of all time, Giacomo Casanova.
The origins of the Filetto Mignon Casanova recipe are sketchy. Before I originally published this recipe by the name "Filetto di manzo Casanova" 3 years ago, there was no information to be found on the internet at all. From what I can gather, this is a New York Italian fine dining restaurant recipe that probably originated in Italy at least 50 years ago. The name of the Italian chef that created the Filetto Mignon Casanova entrée is unknown. Whoever the Italian chef was, he surely deserves a medal for creating one of the finest Valentines Day recipes of them all!
Italian Brown Sauce:
Italian Brown Sauce is Classic Demi Glace. There is Standard Demi Glace and Classic Demi Glace in French cuisine. Standard Demi Glace is made with 1/2 Glacé Viande + 1/2 Sauce Espagnole, then it is reduced to the proper consistency.
Classic Demi Glace is a perfect Sauce Espagnole that is reduced to perfection. This means that the beef stock is thickened with brown roux to a very thin consistency, then it is reduced to a Demi Glace consistency and color. No addition of Glacé Viande is necessary. Classic Demi Glace is very rich as is. Classic Demi Glace is basically made the same way that Italian Brown Sauce is made.
*To make Classic Demi Glace, follow the link below. Only add enough brown roux to the beef stock, so the consistency is very thin, then simmer and reduce the sauce till it can glaze a spoon.
* If following a recipe is easier to do, then click on the link below and follow the steps in the printed recipe that are necessary for making the Standard Demi Glace. A Standard Demi Glace can be used as Italian Brown Sauce too, but many steps can be saved by making Classic Demi Glace!
Follow the link to the recipe in this website.
Follow the link to the recipe in this website.
*This entire recipe yields 1 entrée!
Filetto Mignon Casanova Preparation:
The filet mignon steak should be prepared ahead of time, so the meat can be chilled before cooking. Because a pocket is cut in the filet, the filet will cook quickly, just like two tornados of beef filet. If the meat is chilled after stuffing, then it will be easier to cook the steak to a rare to medium rare finish temperature.
This is a Valentines Day recipe so the choice of beef grade should be top notch. I chose the best grade of beef for the photo example above. USDA Prime Grade Beef is the best grade of beef. Prime Grade Beef costs twice as much as USDA Choice Grade Beef, but the superior quality is well worth the price.
Step 1: Select an 8 ounce USDA Prime Grade Beef filet mignon steak at a good butcher shop.
Step 2: Use a boning knife to cut a pocket into the side of the steak. The mouth of the pocket should be about 1 1/2" wide. The pocket inside the steak should be just large enough for a sautéed oyster to fit into.
Step 3: Heat a small sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
Add 1 teaspoon of pomace olive oil.
Add 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter.
Add 1 minced garlic clove.
Add 1 teaspoon of minced shallot.
Sauté till the garlic becomes a light golden color and the shallots turn clear in color.
Step 4: Add 1 large shucked oyster. (The size of the raw oyster should equal the volume of about 3 tablespoons.)
Add sea salt and white pepper.
Sauté the oyster, till it is halfway cooked.
Step 5: Add 2 large fresh basil leaves.
Add 1 small pinch of oregano.
Sauté the oyster, till it is fully cooked and the basil leaves are wilted yet still green.
Step 6: Remove the pan from the heat.
Place the sauteed oyster and basil leaves on a dish and let them cool.
Step 7: Line the pocket that is cut in the side of the filet mignon steak with the two wilted basil leaves.
Gently slide and press the sautéed oyster into the pocket.
Fold the ends of basil leaf ends over the oyster.
Gently press the edge of the pocket shut.
Step 8: Cut 2 thin strips of pancetta. The pancetta strips should look like bacon strips. (If no whole pancetta is available, then dry cured bacon is okay for this recipe.)
Heat a sauté pan over medium low heat.
Gently cook the pancetta strips like bacon for 2 or 3 minutes, till the fat turns clear and the strips are just blanched. Do not brown the pancetta strips! (Blanching the pancetta or bacon strips will make it easier to brown the pancetta or bacon, when the filet is roasted.)
Remove the blanched pancetta from the pan and set it aside to cool.
Step 9: Wrap the pancetta strips around the sides of the filet mignon steak and be sure that the mouth of the pocket is covered.
Use butcher's twine to truss the pancetta strips onto the steak. 2 to 3 evenly spaced wraps of butcher's twine should hold the pancetta in place.
Step 10: Season the top and bottom of the oyster stuffed filet mignon steak with sea salt and black pepper.
Place the filet on a dish and chill it in a refrigerator till the meat reaches a temperature of about 45ºF.
Vino Rossa Trufa Salsa Bruna:
Italian Brown Sauce with Red Wine and Truffles! This recipe yields a little extra sauce.
Italian White Truffles are best for this recipe. Black Truffle can be substituted. If no truffles are available at all, fresh porcini or reconstituted dried porcini can be substituted.
A truffle slicer is necessary for shaving truffles.
*Wait to make the red wine and truffle demi glace sauce, till just before starting to cook the filet steak!
Step 1: Combine 1/3 cup of dry red wine with 1/2 cup of Classic Demi Glace (or Standard Demi Glace) in a small sauce pot over medium heat.
Bring the sauce to a gentle boil.
Step 2: Reduce the temperature to low heat.
Simmer and reduce, till the sauce is a thin consistency that can coat the back of a spoon.
Step 3: Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
Add 8 to 12 paper thin slices of Italian White Truffle. (About 1/2 tablespoon)
Do not stir after adding the shaved truffle.
Keep the sauce warm over very low heat. If the sauce becomes too thick, then add a small splash of beef stock or broth.
Finishing The Filetto Mignon Casanova:
Step 1: Heat a sauté pan over medium heat.
Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of blended olive oil.
Place the stuffed filet mignon steak in the pan.
Sear the top and bottom of the steak, till it is browned.
Step 2: Turn the steak on its side and cook the pancetta coating, till it just starts to brown. Be sure to roll the steak in the pan every 30 seconds or so, till the pancetta is lightly browned around the entire steak.
Set the steak flat in the pan and place the pan in a 450ºF oven.
Flip the steak once, after is is cooked halfway to the preferred finish temperature.
Finish roasting the stuffed filet mignon steak. (A medium rare to medium finish temperature is best for this recipe.)
Step 3: Place the steak on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan to rest for 1 or 2 minutes.
Step 1: Cut the butcher's twine on the steak.
Carefully remove the butcher's twine and leave the pancetta attached to the steak.
Step 2: Spoon a small amount of the Vino Rossa Salsa Bruna on the center of a plate.
Place the Filetto Mignon Casanova on the sauce.
Spoon a portion of the sauce over the steak.
Step 3: Serve with a vegetable and potato of your choice.
* The Filetto Mignon Casanova in the pictures was served with buttered seasoned olivette potatoes and a buttered seasoned haricot bean bundle that was tied with a blanched green onion top.
No garnish is necessary!
Filetto Mignon Casanova is a perfect choice for Valentines Day! The flavor combination of sautéed oyster stuffed filet mignon may be difficult to imagine, but the oyster adds an aromatic sea breeze flavor. The Vino Rossa Trufa Salsa Bruna is rich tasting beyond belief!