The search for poutine in Dallas has been arduous at best. But this week we learn that it takes a village to make the ethereal and savory dish known by all in Canada as their national dish.
The staff at craveDFW aren’t the only ones stymied by the fact that it is so difficult to find something seemingly simple in a city as large as Dallas. Scardello Cheese monger Ali Morgan has been equally pining away for the dish for quite sometime after she made a cheese trek to Canada.
“My first encounter with poutine was when I went up to the American Cheese Society Conference in Montreal. When I first had it I went what the hell is this? So when I came back I thought there’s got to be somewhere to find this in Dallas. There were a few places that did carry poutine but they are no longer in business,” said Morgan.
She went on how she savored each bit she had in Montreal.
“The stuff I have found available in Dallas isn’t poutine. Usually it’s some gravied fry thing, and I am not dissing that. You put cheese on anything and I am going to eat it,” she continued.
But not ball park cheese, right?
“I would probably eat that too,” she smiled.
Then Morgan ran across the craveDFW story we had done some time back where we were calling out chefs to make the dish.
Ali Morgan had been working with chef Mike Smith at the Common Table designing cheese plates for some time now, so she asked Smith if he would be willing to make a real plate of poutine. He agreed, and challenged her to find the proper curds in the area.
That was all the motivation she needed. It took over two weeks but after exploring many options she found the curds.
Last week Morgan sent me a text with a photo of the curds she found and we both squealed with joy. I would run across Ali at various events and that was the consuming topic of conversation. Soon we would both be sitting in front of a large platter of poutine at one of our favorite Dallas pubs.
“On the bottom of the plate I put some of the smaller curds that had broken apart, then I start layering thinly cut fries and the curds. It is kind of a bonus that you get these layers of curds through out the dish,” said Smith.
The chef had actually never tried poutine before making it for us. He did plenty of research including watching videos online. He thought that fries, curds and gravy couldn’t possibly be that addictive as people are making it out to be.
“I made our first batch and set the plate out for Corey [Pond] to try. I had a few bites then went back into the kitchen. Just a few seconds later I was back at the plate, I had to have more,” said Smith.
The gravy that Smith makes has a thin beefy flavor with a bite of black pepper and a hint of red wine. There is definitely a slight sweetness from the shallots he used to make the gravy. Once ladled onto fries the gravy finds a resting place on the layers of curds and potatoes and begins the process of melting the cheese, but just ever so slightly.
Poutine will be offered as a special with two sizes. Pond speculates the prices will be $10 for a large plate that could easily feed four (ours fed five), or a smaller version for $6. There was some debate as how often poutine would be offered, and it definitely will not be on the regular menu. You will have to ask for the stuff.
The Common Table Poutine will make its first appearance Tuesday, February 6, 2012 at 5:00. Pond thinks that the best beer pairing today would be the new Peticolas Imperial Red Ale.