FBW’s Mignon Filet

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I love Antoine’s. It’s more than a restaurant. It’s been the site of some of my most memorable evenings since I moved to New Orleans in 1981. I’ve celebrated birthdays there.  I’ve been proposed to there.  I’ve had breakups and reconciliations there.  I’ve done business there.  Having one’s own waiter at Antoine’s or Galatoire’s is a status symbol, and, so, yes, I have one.  If you’ve been around long enough, you know what a Walgreen’s Special is, and if you forgot to order the Baked Alaska in advance, you can always ask for that.  My husband FBW’s picture as a young boy in a Mardi Gras costume (tights and satin pantaloons) is on the wall (on the left) in the hallway as you head toward the Rex Room.  Frank died in 2000, but I feel a connection to him every time I dine at Antoine’s — going to Antoine’s with him was such an education and so festive.  I named this recipe FBW’s Filet Mignon because “mignon,” means “small and pretty,” and a younger FBW was famously in love with a very particular Mignon in New Orleans before he met me.  When I say he loved women, I mean he really did love women.  I was not the first.











Antoine Alciatore came from Marseille, France and opened a small French Quarter boarding house in 1840.  But it was his food that wowed the New Orleans cognoscenti. After Antoine returned to France and died, his wife and children continued in the restaurant business. His son Jules created Oysters Rockefeller, which is my favorite dish ever in life and never fails to make me happy. The restaurant continues to be run by one of Antoine Alciatore’s descendents. If you go there, you have to order the Pommes Soufflee (and don’t put Bearnaise on them, please, only butter!) and the Oysters Rockefeller and whatever fish the waiter tells you to have, and then the Baked Alaska or Walgreen’s Special for dessert.  And, if you’re really throwing caution to the wind, and why wouldn’t you be, finish the evening with some Cafe Brulot.  Now that’s the Antoine’s experience.

A filet with Alciatore sauce at Antoine’s is a perfectly cooked beef filet on a pool of brown pineapple sauce, topped with a tangy Bearnaise sauce.  It is a wonderful dish and if you can make a Bearnaise and a good roux, you can make the two sauces and have the same elegant dish at home.  This is well worth the effort and a real show stopper if you’re entertaining.


Brown Pineapple Sauce

Filet (Antoine's)


    Have all ingredients in place. You can make the sauces and hold them an hour or so on the stovetop while you grill the filet. Take the filet out of the frig and season with salt and pepper - let it come to a chilly room temp on the counter (in other words, don't grill an ice cold piece of beef).

    Step 1

    Make the Brown Pineapple Sauce: Start by caramelizing the sugar and water. You want this to go right up to the hard ball stage. Over medium heat in a small saucepan combine sugar and water and bring to a boil until you have a rich caramel colored syrup.

    Step 2

    Pour in the pineapple juice. and the sherry and the vinegar. The caramel may harden in the sauce pan, but that's okay because it will melt again as you heat the sauce. Bring the sauce up to a low boil and then immediately turn it back down to a simmer.

    Step 3

    Reduce the sauce by about 1/3. Do this over low heat.

    Step 4

    While the sauce is reducing, make a roux with the flour and butter. In a small sauce pan, melt the butter, then stir in the flour. Stir constantly and make a medium roux, not as dark as you would for a gumbo, but not a blonde roux, either.

    Step 5

    Add the roux to the sauce. Whisk vigorously. incorporating the flour into the sauce. Hold this sauce over a very very low heat while you make the Bearnaise.

    Step 6

    Make the Bearnaise sauce. The recipe is on this site under Sauces.

    Step 7

    Heat the pineapple slices in the oven.

    Step 8

    Saute the mushroom slices in a small skillet on the stove top.

    Step 9

    Grill the filet on a gas grill set at 500 degrees. A six ounce filet that is 2 inches thick will take about 10 minutes total. Turn after 3 minutes and turn again after 4 minutes. Then text for doneness - you'll probably have to cook a few more minutes. Bring the filet in and put some foil around it and let it rest about 5 minutes.

    Step 10

    Assemble the Filet in the Style of Antoine's: A pool of Pineapple Brown sauce on the bottom, then the pineapple slice. Put the filet atop that, then spoon some Bearnaise sauce on top of the beef. A pretty mushroom goes on top of that!

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