To earn his double-O status, James Bond must make two kills in the line of duty. The second takes place in Stockholm. The target: a Norwegian double-agent. What does Bond eat ahead of his deadly encounter? As imagined by Anthony Horowitz in his second James Bond novel, Forever and a Day (2018), Bond orders a filet mignon in the city’s Restaurant Cattelin. Filet mignon is a beef steak cut from the centre of the fillet. The steak can be served with a variety of sauces. We don’t find out what sauce Bond has – probably the classic béarnaise, knowing Bond* – but for my recipe, I’ve opted for a Bercy-like sauce made with shallots, butter and white wine. In the end, Bond barely touches what turns out to be a bad steak. Bond ought to have better luck with this recipe.
* A menu from the Restaurant Cattelin, dated to 1960/61, some ten years after the events of Forever and a Day, offers béarnaise sauce with its beef steaks. Filet mignon is not listed, but a Chateaubriand steak, taken from the thickest part of the fillet, and served with potato fries and béarnaise sauce, cost 10 kronor. The featured image, by Roland Kemp, is taken from that menu.
- 2 filet mignon beef steaks
- 30g butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra for brushing
- 1 tsp rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 tsp thyme, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- Black pepper
For the sauce
- 30g shallot, peeled and finely chopped
- 150ml dry white wine
- 1 tsp parsley, finely chopped
Heat the oven to 220C (200C fan; 430F). Brush the steaks with olive oil and sprinkle a generous pinch of salt and pepper over them. Put the butter, oil, rosemary, thyme and garlic in an ovenproof frying pan. Place the pan over a high heat. When the butter begins to sizzle, lay the steaks in the pan. Sear the steaks for 2 minutes on each side, basting the upper side with the butter and oil. Put the pan to the oven and cook for 2-2½ minutes. In the words of Elizabeth Mackinnon, the Scottish ‘angel of death’ in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1963), I like my steak ‘guild and bluidy’. For medium or well-done, leave the steaks in the oven for a further 2 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the steaks to a couple of plates.
Put the pan back over a high heat. Add the shallots and fry until they start to soften. Pour in the wine and stir to combine it with the butter and juices. Allow the sauce to bubble until it has reduced by half. Stir in the parsley, take the pan off the heat, then spoon the sauce over the steaks.