Potato Chip-Crusted Macaroni & Cheese Bites
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Credit: Traci Des Jardins, Chef, Public House, San Francisco
The National Culinary Review, May 2013
10 T. California butter
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
5 cups California heavy cream
1¼ cups each grated California white cheddar, provolone, Swiss and Monterey Jack
1¼ t. cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and pepper
10 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
5 cups panko breadcrumbs
5 cups crushed potato chips
2½ cups flour
8 large eggs, beaten
Rice bran oil, for deep-frying
Spicy Tomato Jam (recipe follows)
Spicy Tomato Jam
2 cups sliced white onions
8 garlic cloves, sliced
¼ cup olive oil
4 qts. canned crushed tomatoes with juice
1 t. cayenne pepper
2 T. kosher salt
6 T. hot pepper sauce
1. In large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in flour to make roux; cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. In separate saucepan, bring cream to a simmer. Slowly pour hot cream into roux, whisking constantly. Cook for 5 minutes or until thickened, whisking frequently. Add cheeses and cayenne; season with salt and pepper. Cook over low heat until cheeses melt to smooth consistency, whisking frequently to prevent scorching. Remove from heat; keep warm.
2. Cook macaroni in 4 gallons heavily salted boiling water for 2 minutes less than package directions. Drain. Rinse with cold water; drain well. Fold macaroni into warm cheese sauce; cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or heat-resistant spatula, until macaroni is tender. Lightly coat shallow hotel pan with cooking spray. Pour mixture into pan; spread in even layer. Refrigerate, covered, until firm. Cut around edge of pan to release macaroni. Unmold onto cutting board; cut into 1½ inch cubes.
3. In food processor, pulse panko and potato chips until roughly same size. Dust macaroni cubes lightly with flour, dip in egg and toss in panko/potato chip mixture to coat completely. Place on parchment-paper-lined sheet pan; refrigerate until needed.
4. For each serving, to order, deep-fry 3 macaroni cubes in 350ºF oil about 4 minutes or until crust is golden-brown. Drain on paper towel; sprinkle with salt. Serve with ¼ cup spicy tomato jam.
Spicy Tomato Jam
Method: In saucepan over medium heat, sweat onions and garlic in oil. Add tomatoes and cayenne; cook over medium heat until reduced to 6 cups. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Add salt and hot pepper sauce; puree in food processor or blender.
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