For Shoestring Potatoes:
2 or 3 Idaho potatoes, about 8 ounces each, peeled and cut into 1/8 inch-thick to 1/4 inch-thick julienne (preferably with a mandoline)
peanut oil, for deep-frying
4 filet mignons, about 8 ounces each and 1 3/4 inches thick
6 tablespoons pink peppercorns, crushed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/2 cup butter, cut into cubes
1/4 cup crushed pink peppercorns (remaining from steak rub)
4 sprigs of Italian flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
FOR SHOESTRING POTATOES: Soak the julienned potatoes in a bowl of cold water for about 30 minutes. Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 375 degrees F. Rinse the potatoes thoroughly, drain, and pat dry. Add the potatoes (in batches) to the hot oil and fry for about 2 minutes or until golden brown. (Keep the temperature of the oil constant during frying and between batches. If the oil becomes too hot, the fries will brown too quickly and will not stay crisp once removed from the fryer.) Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on a paper towels, and season with salt. To keep warm, if necessary, place in an oven set on low heat. Do not cover or the fries will become soggy.
FOR STEAKS: Rub each steak with salt and about 1/2 tablespoon of the crushed pink peppercorns. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and sear the steaks over medium-high heat until browned on both sides (about 1 minute per side). Turn the heat down to medium and continue to sauté the steaks fir about 3-1/2 minutes on each side for medium-rare, 4-1/2 minutes for medium, or to the desired doneness.
FOR SAUCE: To prepare the sauce, combine the red wine, red wine vinegar, and shallots in a saucepan and bring to a boil about medium-high heat. Reduce to about 2 tablespoons (this will take 10 to 15 minutes) and add the heavy cream. Turn the heat down to low and gradually add the butter, stirring slowly until it is all incorporated. Be careful not to let the mixture boil, or it will separate. Remove from the heat and strain if desired. Season with salt and the remaining 1/4 cup of crushed pink peppercorns. Transfer to a double boiler or thermos flask to keep warm if not using immediately.
TO SERVE: Arrange the steaks in the center of warm serving plates and garnish with the parsley. If you wish, pour any steak juices over the steaks. Ladle the sauce over the steaks and around the plate. Top with a heaping portion of fries.
Active Time: 25 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 5 Minutes
Yield: 4 Servings