It is National Hamburger Week, and also National Hamburger Month! Marisa and I were too broke to take in any of the festivities being held by many NYC restaurants. But I had some spare home-ground beef from my last batch in the freezer, and we decided to celebrate on our own. Home ground burgers, with 12 month aged cheddar, bacon, and jalapeno ketchup. I won’t bore you with those details, you can look through my old post about grinding the meet and making burgers. But I will tell you about the side dish.
A few weeks before we went out with some friends to Alewife in Long Island City. The food was great, but one appetizer stood out. The Poutine. I usually don’t love gravy on my fries, but it was delicious. It had a fried egg on top, and duck confit. So it was my challenge to recreate it, without the confit (where the heck do you get a duck leg anyway.)
Of course, I started with fresh potatoes, which I cleaned and cut. Then soaked them in ice water for an hour in the fridge. That releases the starches to get the crispiest fries, which is secret #1. I then took them out, and let them sit out on a towel, and padded them until they were completely dry.
I fired up my cast iron pot with some Peanut oil. Got the oil to 350 degrees. That is secret #2, getting the oil the perfect temperature. Too cold, the fries get soggy, and too hot, the oil burns, and everything tastes nasty and you burn your house down. So I took out my trusty thermapen, which was worth every penny. I would absolutely suggest using a thermometer of some sorts. Something that goes that high, like a candy thermometer, or thermapen. Also, don’t assume that between batches the oil is still 350 degrees. Take the temperature in between batches, because the oil will cool when the potatoes are added.
I fried the fries in batches, and when they looked like they were halfway done, I scooped them out, let the oil get back to 350, and dropped them in again (secret #3, but who’s counting?) creating the perfectly crispy french fry.
After the fries were done, I put them in an aluminum pan, poured some warmed gravy and sprinkled mozzarella cheese on top. That is when I started on the burgers. First I fried the bacon on the cast iron skillet, then I cooked the burgers in the bacon grease, then I fried the egg for the poutine in what was left on the skillet. This made for some damn good poutine. Yeah, I know real poutine uses cheese curds, but I am Italian, not Canadian, c’mon.