Grilled tender beef from Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat's The Japanese Grill. "Filet mignon is cut from the tenderloin, which, as the name implies, is the most tender meat on a cow. It's tender, but not particularly beefy, so we pair it with a tangy ume-infused gyu dare dipping sauce to give each bite more character. Gyu dare means "beef sauce" in Japanese. Our version is an all-purpose dipping sauce and marinade that mingles together fundamental Japanese seasonings to add savoriness, acidity, body, and a hint of sweetness to meat. Use the gyu dare as a versatile flavour foundation onto which you can layer accents like wasabi, grated fresh ginger, grated garlic or grated horseradish. (Rule of thumb: add about 1 tbsp of accent per 1 cup of gyu dare, or to taste.) You can also combine accents to create your own gyu dare variation and even add herbs like thyme, tarragon, basil or shiso or Tabasco sauce."
4 (1-1/2"-thick) filet mignon steaks, about 2 lb.
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup Gyu Dare Dipping Sauce (recipe below)
1 tbsp ume paste
Gyu Dare Dipping Sauce
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup sake
1/2 cup mirin
1/4 cup rice vinegar
Step 1: Season the steaks on all sides with salt and pepper.
Step 2: Make the dipping sauce by whisking together the gyu dare and ume paste in a bowl. Divide between 4 small dipping bowls; set aside.
Step 3: Preheat a grill for a two-zone fire (medium and hot). Clean and thoroughly oil the grate. Grill the steaks, covered, about 8 minutes for medium-rare. Start on hot heat for 1 minute, then shift the steaks to medium heat. After about 3 minutes, juices will begin to appear on top of the meat. Flip the steaks and repeat the two-zone grilling on the other side. When the steaks are ready, they'll be browned and juicy on the surface. Let the filet mignons rest for about 5 minutes. Serve with the dipping sauce on the side.
Gyu Dare Dipping Sauce
Step 1: Add the soy sauce, sake, mirin and rice vinegar to a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 1 minute, remove from the heat, and let the liquid cool to room temperature. Before using, refrigerate for at least 12 hours, or overnight, to give the flavours time to mingle. Gyu dare can keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Reprinted with permission from Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat's The Japanese Grill (2011 Ten Speed Press).