Almost every sports bar, pizzeria, fast food joint, greasy spoon, diner, and even some up-scale restaurants in Montreal offer poutine, or their version of it, on their menus. Everyone knows the best place to get poutine, and that is clearly subjective. So the real question is, what makes a poutine good?
1. The Fries
The main ingredient in the poutine that doesn’t change from recipe to recipe are the fries. Whether somewhat soft or crispy, the fries offer the base flavor for this dish. The best kind are those that are fried TWICE! Why twice? The first fry is to blanch them, that is, to initiate the cooking process and establish a base flavor. Let the fries cool, then fry again to crisp them up. Sweet potato fries are acceptable.
2. The Cheese Curds
Traditional cheese in poutine includes cheese curds: little nuggets of mozarella-type cheese that melts and becomes stringy when it comes in contact with the hot fries and gravy. Variations of cheese include provolone, or blue cheese (stilton isn’t bad).
3. The Gravy
Poutine gravy has a beef base that is dark and rich. Don’t settle for a light colored gravy because that would be gross. The gravy Is always the last part to be added to the dish since is initiates the cheese melting process. Variations of the gravy create different types of poutine: Italian poutine is made with meat sauce, and Mexican poutine is made with salsa.
This is simply an introduction to the world of poutine. Be sure to check back here for reviews of my favorite poutine havens.