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Idaho Potato Fire Fries

From: Executive chef/partner Matthew McMillin, v.p. of culinary, Big Bowl/Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Chicago. Yield: 3-4 servings.

1 lb. Idaho® Russet Burbank
potatoes, scrubbed, unpeeled
as needed for frying, peanut oil
3 oz. red curry paste (recipe follows)
2 tsp. fish sauce
1 tsp. lemon juice
1⁄2 tsp. sugar
1⁄4 cup chopped cilantro leaves

Red curry paste:
20 dried red chiles (half fresh dried/half red Thai chiles)
1⁄4 cup coriander seeds
2 Tbsp. cumin seeds
1 Tbsp. black peppercorns
1⁄2 lb. shallots, peeled
8 garlic cloves
5 slices fresh galangal
4 fresh red chiles
3 stalks lemongrass (bottom 2 inches of stalk only)
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 bunches fresh cilantro (roots and stems only)
1 Tbsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 lime, zest
1 cup peanut oil, divided
2 tsp. paprika

Slice skin-on potatoes lengthwise, then into batons about 3/8” by 3/8” (or use a french fry cutter). Blanch fries in 350°F peanut oil about 3 minutes. Arrange in single layer on parchment paper. Refrigerate overnight. At service, fry in 350°F peanut oil until golden brown, about 3 minutes. While fries are browning, saute 1⁄2 ounce peanut oil and red curry paste until aromatic, about 1 minute. Mix together fish sauce, lemon juice and sugar; stir until sugar is dissolved. Toss mixture with fries. Toss fries with sauteed curry paste, then with cilantro.

For red curry paste: In a small skillet over medium heat, toast dried chiles, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and peppercorns until fragrant. In ventilated area, grind to medium powder in spice grinder or blender. In a food processor, combine shallots, garlic, galangal, fresh chiles, lemongrass, lemon juice, fish sauce, cilantro roots and stems, salt, sugar and lime zest.  Grind to paste. Blend in 1⁄4 cup peanut oil and paprika. Remove paste to bowl. Stir in remaining 3⁄4 cup peanut oil. Transfer to jar; refrigerate. Curry paste will keep for about a week.


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