Thursday, June 16th, 2011 at 11:54 pm
The Cooking Chronicles: Variations on Poutine
I’ve written many times about our love for poutine – what’s not to love about fries topped with cheese curds and gravy? This love pushed me to create some variations on poutine – based on dishes that we’ve enjoyed while dining out.
Asparagus Bacon Breakfast Poutine
Wake Bistro’s breakfast poutine was an excellent way of integrating poutine with a dish fit for brunch, substituting hollandaise for gravy, and skillet potatoes for fries. I decided to cross that idea with an asparagus bacon hash, to create an asparagus bacon breakfast poutine for supper.
I cooked up some Irvings bacon, then in the bacon fat, browned baby potatoes from Kuhlmann’s, then added some diced onion. Edgar Farms asparagus was the last vegetable to go in, cooked only for a few minutes. This mixture was transferred into bowls, topped with Cheese Factory cheese curds, our favourite yogurt-based hollandaise recipe (made with Bles Wold yogurt), and a poached Greens, Eggs and Ham duck egg.
Asparagus bacon breakfast poutine
No question, it was a pretty rich dish, so the addition of asparagus helped brighten each bite. Mack thoroughly enjoyed it, but you would be hard pressed to find a meal featuring bacon, cheese and eggs that Mack doesn’t like!
A sandwich I still think warmly of is the chip butty from Free Press Bistro, featuring fries and melted cheese sandwiched between pressed ciabatta. My only suggestion was for them to serve it with a side of gravy instead of an aioli, making for the perfect poutine sandwich. It’s been a while since I’ve been to Free Press Bistro, but I was inspired to make our own poutine sandwich tonight.
In the process of making this dish, we made two recipes that I can see becoming staples in our kitchen. First, Ina Garten’s recipe for homemade gravy worked amazingly well, and was incredibly flavourful given I did not have any meat drippings to incorporate. It also had a wobbly sort of consistency, ideal as a sandwich spread. Second, an adapted Cook’s Illustrated recipe for baked fries was without question the easiest and most successful we’ve tried for fries (we didn’t add garlic or cayenne because we wanted a neutral flavour), with the potatoes turning out wonderfully crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside.
We assembled the sandwiches using our remaining Cheese Factory cheese curds and butter buns from Bee Bell Bakery, then toasted them on the stove for a few minutes to melt the cheese.
Assembling the sandwiches
Oh, this is not for the faint of heart. Nor should we have made the serving size two sandwiches each.
The butter buns were the wrong type of bread to use; something closer to the Free Press’ ciabatta would have been better, but other than that, the poutine sandwich tasted exactly how I imagined it would: salty and squeaky. Mack declared them “money”, then promptly fell into a food coma.
They’re something we’d consider making again, but very sparingly. I think our hearts will thank us!