Spring Vegetarian Poutine With Peas, Black Trumpet Mushrooms and Dill Bechamel
Chef Seth Morrison
Poutine is typically a heavier winter dish, but chef Seth Morrison transforms it for spring with fresh peas, mushrooms and a creamy but light bechamel sauce brightened with fresh dill. His restaurant, The Gallows, tops the poutine with housemade cheese curds, but purchased curds can be substituted. The prep will please french fry lovers who want a comfort food in step with the season.
1 gal. whole milk
¼ cup lemon juice
6 tbsp. butter, divided
4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
2 tsp. salt
½ cup fresh-shucked spring peas
¾ cup black trumpet mushrooms
1 tbsp. chopped fresh dill
2 cups french fries
½ cup housemade or purchased cheese curds
- For cheese curds, place milk in a large stockpot. Over medium heat, warm milk to 180 F, or just below boiling. Slowly stir in the lemon juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let rest for 20 minutes; the curds and whey should separate. Scoop out curds and place in strainer or cheesecloth stretched over large bowl; strain until whey drains off and only curds remain.
- In saucepan, heat 5 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat until melted. Add flour and stir until smooth and the mixture turns a light, golden-sandy color, about 6 to 7 minutes.
- In another saucepan, heat milk until it just starts boiling. Stir hot milk into butter mixture, 1 cup at a time, whisking continuously until very smooth; bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes, stirring constantly; remove from heat. Season bechamel with salt and dill; set aside until ready to use.
- In small saucepan, bring water to a boil. Fill a medium bowl with ice water. When water is boiling, drop in peas; blanch for 30 seconds and drain. Immediately plunge drained peas into ice water.
- In saute pan over low heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Toss in mushrooms; cook until mushrooms lose some of their moisture and start to barely crisp up. Add peas and toss for 1 minute until warmed. Season with salt and pepper.
- To assemble, toss fries in a large kitchen bowl with salt. Portion into bowl and top with cheese curds, peas, mushrooms and bechamel.
Photo courtesy of Idaho Potato Commission
Note: For homemade french fries, peel potatoes and cut on a fry press, then soak in water overnight. This draws out the starch to cover the outside of the potato, which results in a nice, crispy fry. The next day, dry the fries. Deep fry the potatoes in oil heated to 275 F for about 7 minutes, then lay them out on a baking rack to cool. Per order, drop fries back in the deep fryer at 350 F for 3½ to 4 minutes.