Filet Mignon With Hazelnut Hummus and Homemade Yukon Gold Potato Chips

3/4 cup peeled and chopped shallots
1/2 cup peeled and chopped carrot
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups hummus (either homemade or commercially prepared)
2 tablespoons Ponzu (lemon-flavored soy sauce; Kikkoman makes one I like)
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
3 cups vegetable oil, for deep-frying
2 large, unpeeled, Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices (soaked in water until ready to fry, then patted dry on a clean kitchen towel)
4 (6-ounce) filet mignons (preferably Angus beef), at room temperature
Horseradish Sauce (recipe follows)

In a skillet over medium heat, gently saute the shallots, carrot and garlic in the olive oil for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1/3 cup water, cover and gently simmer until carrots are very tender, about 6 to 7 minutes. Remove lid and continue cooking until liquid has reduced and almost completely evaporated (there will be a bit of moisture remaining), without browning or scorching vegetables. Remove from heat and cool.

Meanwhile, place the hummus in a blender jar with the Ponzu, salt, pepper and cayenne. Scrape cooled vegetables (use a rubber spatula so you get every bit of flavor from pan) into blender and puree until smooth. May be prepared several days ahead, covered and refrigerated. Reheat in either a 300-degree oven or microwave just until heated through.

To make potato chips, heat the vegetable oil to 375 F in a Dutch oven or large, heavy-bottomed pot (or deep-fryer). Drop about half of the potatoes in hot oil and cook, stirring with tongs to keep potatoes cooking evenly and not sticking together, until golden-brown. Remove first batch with a slotted spoon and transfer to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with salt to taste.

Repeat with remaining potatoes. Keep warm in a low oven if serving immediately. May be made up to 24 hours ahead and gently reheated.

When ready to cook the steaks, season with salt and pepper. Cook steaks as desired, either over a hot charcoal or gas grill, or in a lightly buttered grill pan over medium-high heat, for approximately 2 to 3 minutes per each side for medium-rare, depending on thickness.

To serve, spread some warm hummus in center of each plate and place a hot filet on top, followed by a handful of warm potato chips. Accompany each serving with a spoonful of the Horseradish Sauce. Makes 4 servings.

HORSERADISH SAUCE: In a blender jar, combine 3/4 cup good-quality mayonnaise (such as Best Foods or Hellmann's), 1/3 cup chopped celery, 3 tablespoons prepared "extra-hot" horseradish (not "creamy style"), 1 tablespoon each: minced garlic, ketchup, Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce; 1 1/2 teaspoons each: fresh lemon juice and red-wine vinegar; and 1/8 teaspoon paprika. Blend until smooth. Keep, covered and refrigerated, for 2 to 3 weeks. Makes 1 1/2 cups.


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