If you think of some of the most iconic, classic dishes, they always have a starch. What would a pizza be without a crust as its bottom layer? Or a classic sandwich without two pieces of bread? Even a great Caesar salad becomes greater with the crunch of a few croutons. Whether it’s serving as a bed for other ingredients, holding them together, or simply adding texture and taste, a starch always adds something to a dish, making it something that it couldn’t be without it. What if that starch was always fries? What if you were to reimagine some of the most time-honored, cultishly-adored, classic dishes, but replace its integral starch component with… fries?
While we most commonly see them all by themselves, placed next to a heaping hamburger or as a side to a fast food combo, fries seem to be becoming more and more of a “staple starch” for a lot of dishes. In Canada, fries became the main component of poutine, where they’re topped with gravy and cheese curds, in the 1950’s, and around that same time, people in Philadelphia and Chicago started plating fries with chili and Cheddar cheese. Now we see fries as main dishes on a lot of popular restaurants’ menus, and it’s very likely you’ve been lucky enough to enjoy pulled pork fries at some point, or maybe have seen what some people call “disco fries” — America’s variation of Canada’s poutine.
As you can see, the fry’s movement is already in motion. Chefs and cooks all across the country have started thinking about fries as not just a dish all on their own, but as the starch that makes the rest of the ingredients better because they’re there. There are even, as most French fry fiends probably know, even restaurants whose entire focus is just French fries.
While meats smothered in a sauce, like chili or pulled pork, and cheese are some of the most popular variations we see topped on fries, we wanted to think of even crazier, more outrageous ways of topping fries. What if, instead of enjoying a Philly cheesesteak on a hoagie, you enjoyed it tossed together with a heaping plate of hot, salty fries? Or what if instead of dipping huge chunks of crusty bread into a boiling pot of fondue, you took that pot and poured it all over a batch of fries?
Your mind is mostly likely turning, and so was ours, because we created 15 over-the-top recipes for the beloved fried potato. Instead of serving eggs Benedict on two pieces of toasted English muffins, we decided to serve it over fries. While there’s nothing like a bagel with cream cheese and lox in the morning, we have to argue that the same combination of cheese and smoked fish tastes pretty good on fries, too. Don’t have tortilla chips for your nachos? No big deal, make the nachos using fries, instead.
Fries make the perfect starchy substitution to any dish that you’re craving, even if that dish didn’t have a starch to begin with. They’re crisp, fried, and slightly salty, and they have the power to add texture and flavor to just about anything you’re craving (really — anything).
Our recipes might seem pretty outrageous, and that’s because at the end of the day, well, they are. But something else you should know is that they’re delicious. We weren’t sure when conceptualizing them, whether or not all of the ideas would actually work, but the empty fry boats proved quite the opposite — most were even better than we could have possibly imagined. Suffice it to say, after these recipes, we might forgo the classic biscuit with our sausage gravy and go with fries instead. And we might just skip the pita bread next time we order our gyro and toss the lamb meat and garnishes with some fries from now on. Think that chicken wings are the only thing that taste good smothered in Buffalo sauce and dipped in bleu cheese dressing? Think again.
These fry recipes are out of the box, whacky, and downright over-the-top. But, boy, are they good.
Think we could have thought of some even crazier over-the-top French fry recipes? We have some pretty great other recipe ideas, but we’d love to hear from you. What over-the-top French fry recipes should we make next?
Anne Dolce is the Cook editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @anniecdolce
This article was originally published August 01, 2013.