I was planning to make burgers and fries yesterday, and I decided to cut my own fries from potatoes. This wasn't enough to warrant a recipe entry, but I decided to make poutine from some of the fries. The supermarket didn't have cheese curds, but they did have mozzarella pearls (small cheese curd-sized mozzarella nuggets). The pun came to me immediately as I decided to make an Italian version of the classic Canadian dish.
I could have used red sauce, but I decided that alfredo sauce would look closer to the genuine article. I added pesto sauce to enhance the flavor, and because I had just made some. It seemed that I had a good idea on my hands, so I decided to share it with my wife after I made the fries. Her reaction? "Get that crap away from my fries!" It's okay. I still love her. Besides, she's Italian by marriage only.
Not that this is even remotely Italian, though the flavors do work well together. The alfredo sauce isn't that different from a gravy, and mozzarella is often used as an acceptable substitute for cheese curds in a classic poutine. I'm glad I added the pesto, since it needed a boost in the flavor.
A poutine is simple to make, involving fries, curds, and gravy, but the most crucial thing to remember is the timing of the assembly. The fries and gravy need to be hot. The curds need to be at room temperature. The gravy is added immediately before serving, otherwise the potatoes get soggy. The heat of the gravy softens the curds just enough that they still have a chew to them. It's a glorious mess, but well worth the effort.
1 pound potatoes
1 tablespoon oil
salt to taste
4 ounces mozzarella pearls
1. Remove mozzarella pearls from refrigerator, and allow to reach room temperature.
2. Cut potatoes into French fry shapes. I used a French fry cutter, and I left the skin on. Soak potato pieces in water for at least an hour. This removes starch from the potatoes, keeping them from sticking together, and making them more crispy. Rinse excess starch from potatoes and allow to drip dry.
3. Toss the potato pieces in the oil to coat, then arrange on a baking sheet. Cook at 375°F (190°C) for 10 minutes, then scrape fries from the baking sheets and flip over. Cook for another 10 minutes or until cooked through.
4. At the same time, heat up the alfredo sauce and pesto sauce.
5. Remove fries from oven and sprinkle with salt. Place some fries in a bowl. Arrange mozzarella pearls on top of the fries.
6. Coat with alfredo sauce, then drizzle pesto sauce on top. Serve immediately.