Koji-Rubbed Filet Mignon | Wine Enthusiast
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Koji-Rubbed Filet Mignon

Courtesy Ryan Ratino, founder and executive chef, Bresca, Washington, D.C.

Filet mignon is the round cut taken from the loin end that’s known for its tenderness and delicate flavor. At Bresca in Washington, D.C., Executive Chef Ryan Ratino uses funky pickled and fermented ingredients to contrast the other, impeccably fresh components in his cooking. In this dish, he uses koji, the fermented culture used to make saké, miso and soy sauce, to amp up the beef’s flavor. Koji is available in Asian markets and online. The rest of the method here, and the pairing, are pretty classic. It’s a fun twist on an old standby.


2 8-ounce filets mignon
2 tablespoons ground koji
Kosher salt


Rub filets with koji. Refrigerate for 48 hours.

Remove filets from refrigerator. Season heavily on both sides with kosher salt, and let sit for 30 minutes. Warm cast iron pan over medium heat. Sear steak for 6 minutes. Flip steak and cook 6 minutes, or until probe thermometer inserted into thickest part of meat registers 125˚F for medium rare. Serves 2.

Pair It

Château de France 2014 Pessac-Léognan. Apologies to the purists: Ratino likes a blend. From the Graves region of Bordeaux, this Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot has intense, concentrated plum flavors that will match well with the filet. Underneath the dense fruit is a hint of toasty almond, a perfect answer to the koji’s funk.

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