Meat and potatoes is a classic and every now and then, nothing satisfies that way a perfectly cooked steak can. Admittedly, filet mignon is probably not the cut of beef that most people would choose when feeding a family of 5 on an ordinary weeknight. However, it can most definitely be a realistic alternative for those times when you feel like splurging a bit, though still not breaking the piggy bank!
Filet is most often my steak of choice because they are portioned to a reasonable serving size, they are extremely tender requiring little preparation, and are still substantial enough to handle a marinade. One of the best ways to purchase the traditionally more expensive cuts of meat is to purchase in bulk from your local warehouse where the savings is substantial over the mainstream grocery store chains. The key is buy in large quantities and repackage at home into individual servings and store in the freezer for use at your convenience. They are very easy to thaw in the refrigerator overnight or even in the microwave immediately prior to cooking and serving.
I seasoned this 6oz. filet with salt and pepper only on all sides and heated a heavy bottom oven proof saute pan over med high heat until a tablespoon of olive oil just starts to smoke. Cook the steak on both sides approximately 3 minutes each and transfer the pan to a preheated 425 degree oven for approximately 5-8 minutes for rare and 8-10 minutes for medium. Remove from pan and allow to rest on a serving plate for 10 minutes prior to carving.
For these potato skins, I used a large Idaho baking potato which I washed thoroughly and baked for 1 hour in a 350 degree oven. Baking the potato in the oven ensures a light, fluffy texture with the crispiest skin. However, if you are in a time crunch, you can cook the potato in the microwave for about 4-6 minutes on high depending on the size of the potato. Allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes or until it is cool enough to handle. Cut the potato in half lengthwise and carefully scoop out the potato pulp being sure to leave most of the potato intact in the shell. (Hint: save the pulp you scooped out, it makes a delicious potato pancake which is so tasty in the morning with a fried egg!) Place the potato shells in a baking dish and drizzle with melted butter and olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for about 30 min. at 425 degrees. Obviously, this is the basic technique for making potato skins but the topping possibilities are endless. Try them with crumbled bacon, green onions and melted cheddar or stuff with broccoli and cheese or even chili. Smaller potatoes work great too as an appetizer.