20 Nov Special of the Day: A Taste of Chicago- Pommes Frites with Truffle Salt
Meeting up in Chicago this fall for our tenth annual college girls’ getaway trip proved to be yet another amazing adventure for eight of us close friends from college, sorority sisters at the University of Washington.
An exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of Lurie Garden at Millennium Park by our very own Jennifer Guthrie of Gustafson, Guthrie, Nichol, LTD, the landscape architecture firm that designed the gorgeous 2.5 acre garden featuring over 240 varieties of perennial plants, will surely go down as one of my favorite girls’ trip experiences ever. What a special treat for all of us.
We gained a newfound respect for “verticality” as we marveled over Chicago’s magnificent skyscrapers on the Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise, soaked up some serious culture at the Art Institute of Chicago, enjoyed nonstop laughs at the Second City performance of “Let Them Eat Chaos”, and finally bid each other farewell over brunch and incredible views of the city at the Signature Room on the 95th floor of the Hancock Building.
One meal I won’t soon forget is the Steak Frites I enjoyed at Bistronomic, the French bistro extraordinaire located in the Gold Coast neighborhood the first night of our trip. A perfectly prepared flat iron steak with red wine reduction was accompanied by crisp-on-the-outside fluffy-on-the-inside truffle salt-dusted pommes frites. Délicieux!
A very popular entrée, as many as 30% of dinner guests on any given night will order the Steak Frites. Chef Martial Noguier has perfected his pommes frites by starting with extremely high quality ingredients: Idaho potatoes, truffled sea salt and peanut oil. Noguier stresses that the cook’s technique is also important. His method for making pommes frites involves frying the potatoes twice, initially at a lower temperature and then finishing them at a higher heat for less time.
Lamenting the inevitable end of a yet another fun-filled trip on the long journey home, I began wishing I had asked for the recipe for the pommes frites from Bistronomic. I spontaneously dashed an email off to the restaurant expressing my desire to replicate them at home and share the recipe with readers of my cooking column.
Thankfully, Bistronomic Marketing/Public Relations Director Lisa Taylor emailed me right back willing to help connect me with Chef Martial Noguier to answer my questions which he did, providing me with a rough outline of a recipe.
One additional tip I would include is to make sure to cut the potato into uniform ½ inch thick strips. If the potato slices are too thick, they won’t cook through, and if they are too thin, they’ll frizzle up into overcooked and under-fluffed nothingness, which I found out the hard way.
Sharing a taste of Chicago and Chef Martial Noguier’s secret for perfecting pommes frites is this week’s Special of the Day: A Taste of Chicago-Pommes Frites with Truffle Salt. Enjoy!
Food photography by Sydne George.
If you go:
840 N. Wabash
Chicago, Illinois 60611
Recipe from Chef Martial Noguier of Bistronomic
Use peanut oil. Temperature should be at 260 degrees for 10 minutes. Move them every 2 minutes. After they are cooked at 340 degrees for 5 minutes use a tower to dry them.
Which is to say, for four servings:
(Additional notes by Sydne George)
3 medium-sized Idaho potatoes, washed and peeled
32-ounce bottle peanut oil
Truffle salt (available locally at Wines by Wednesday)
Cut peeled potatoes into uniform ½ thick slices.
Heat two medium saucepans, each with two inches of peanut oil in them.
Bring one pot of oil to 260 degrees and maintain temperature.
Bring the second pot of oil to 340 degrees and maintain temperature.
Cook potato slices in 260 degree oil for 10 minutes, moving them every two minutes with a slotted spoon.
Remove potatoes from 260 degree oil after 10 minutes and transfer to 340 degree oil, cooking for an additional 5 minutes until golden brown.
Remove from oil with slotted spoon and dry on cooling rack.
Toss with truffle salt and serve hot.
Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . Sydne’s recipes from “Special of the day” are archived at http://sydnegeorge.com/blog/.