It may be National French Fry Day, but I’m into spinning my own variation on today’s food holiday theme so I’m celebrating poutine instead.
What is poutine?
It’s a popular Canadian fast-food fix that starts with french fries and cheese curds topped with a light brown gravy.
And it’s what the French Canadians of Quebec call “greasy spoon” cuisine, according to Mental Floss’ “A Brief History of the Poutine.” Here in the States, we call it comfort food.
But a funny thing happens when a classically trained chef gets his hands on the grub of the people. They add embellishments that make it it seem like so much more than crispy fried potatoes.
I recently treated myself to chef Martin Heuser of Affare’s uber-luxe version of lobster poutine, a “guilty pleasure” dish featuring hand-cut truffle fries topped with a decadent cream sherry sauce of cheese curds embellished with chunks of lobster and fresh chanterelle mushrooms.
The rich, earthy fragrance as Heuser poured the “gravy” over the fries was truly intoxicating. Succulent bits of sweet lobster balance the typically heavy lumberjack-style dish and gave it a lightness that makes it work in summer.
You could drink a cold beer with poutine, but the $24 dish actually benefits more from a pairing with a buttery chardonnay, says Katrin, Heuser’s wife and wine sommelier.
Lobster poutine is only available during the month July as part of Affare’s monthlong Lobster Fest, which includes dishes such as corn and lobster chowder, lobster salad, lobster roll, lobster risotto with octopus bacon and grilled lobster with a mango-poblano salsa.
Jill Wendholt Silva is The Star’s James Beard award-winning food editor. Reach her on Twitter at @kcstarfood or on Instagram at @jillwsilva.