Wisconsin White Cheddar Poutine with Tempura Peppers and Piloncillo/Harissa Sauce
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Credit: Ricardo Pineda, Executive Chef, Nana, Chicago
The National Culinary Review, July/August 2013
1 cup (about 8 oz.) piloncillo, grated or chopped, or dark brown sugar, packed
1 T. harissa paste
¼ cup butter
2 T. heavy cream
2 cups flour
1½ cups cornstarch, divided
2¼-2½ cups beer
Vegetable oil, for frying
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled, cut in french-fry strips
2 poblano, banana or other spicy peppers, seeded, cut in ¾-inch pieces (or left whole if small)
16 Wisconsin white-cheddar cheese curds
1. In medium saucepan, combine piloncillo, harissa paste, butter and cream. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until heated and sugar dissolves. Reserve.
2. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, 1 cup cornstarch and 2¼ cups beer. If necessary, add more beer to make a slightly thin batter.
3. Heat 3-4 inches oil to 375ºF in deep saucepot or deep-fryer. Fry potatoes until deep golden-brown and tender. Drain; keep warm.
4. Toss pepper pieces in some of remaining cornstarch, then in batter; shake off excess. In batches, fry peppers until batter is crisp and light golden-brown and peppers are tender. Drain; keep warm.
5. Toss cheese curds in remaining cornstarch and batter. In batches, fry cheese curds until batter is light golden-brown and crisp. Drain.
6. To plate: Place french fries on bottom of platter. Top with peppers and cheese curds. Pour some piloncillo/harissa sauce over top. Pass remaining sauce.
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