Oh Lord, here we have a taste. “Taste” in this case needs no prepositional phrase, no simile. This dish is perfect, it is a heart attack on a plate, and it is as Cajun as it gets. This dish opened a tunnel into the future through which I can see Mardi Gras, I can smell the grease, I can hear the Zydeco coming down the street and pounding from the windowpanes of colorful houses. This dish had me dancing at the stove. I hate to post it on a Monday—because it’s a taste for Friday night. Or any given Tuesday in New Orleans.
Adapted from Food and Wine Oct 2013 (that Mom sent to me in a care package)
1 red bell pepper
1 pound sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded (3 1/4 cups)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon sunflower seed oil
1/2 pound andouille sausage, cut into 1/4-inch dice
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (I added another tsp because it didn’t look roux-y enough for me)
1/4 cup chopped tomato (used my own from my garden! The THRILL, you real farmers will giggle)
1 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallion
4 cups cooked french fries
1/2 pound cooked popcorn shrimp
Roast the red pepper and jalapeño directly over a gas flame or under a preheated broiler, turning, until charred all over. Transfer the red pepper and jalapeño to a large bowl, cover tightly with plastic and let cool for 15 minutes. Peel, seed and stem the red pepper and jalapeño, then cut them into 1/4-inch dice.
In a large bowl, mix half of the red pepper with half of the jalapeño; reserve the rest for another use. Add the cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, cilantro, lemon juice and cayenne to the bowl and mix well; season with salt and pepper. Chill for at least 2 hours.
In a medium cast-iron skillet, heat the oil. Add the andouille and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the fat is rendered and the sausage is crispy, 8 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until translucent, 3 minutes. Stir in the green pepper and garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, 2 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and stir until incorporated; add the tomato and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until it starts to break down, 3 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 450°. Spread the french fries on a heatproof serving platter. Spoon the gravy all over the fries and top with the crayfish. Dollop 1 cup (this is ridiculous, I put 2 cups) of the pimento cheese all over the fries; reserve the rest for another use. Bake the poutine for about 10 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and melted. Serve immediately. Hook up a Holter monitor on yourself for the next two days, just in case. Pairs well with KP’s latest brew for Oktoberfest.