Recipe 3.1: Caprese Sandwiches with Potato Fries
These sandwiches are everything I’ve ever wanted in a sandwich! They are lightly crisp, soft, chewy, juicy, meaty, fresh, and filled with garlicky goodness. The flavors here literally dance in your mouth.
Last week, I suggested that potato fries would make a good side for the catfish po’boys but didn’t give you a recipe to make your own fries at home; I decided that wasn’t very nice of me…so this week I have a recipe for you! These fries are delicious because they are crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. Now I just need to figure out a recipe to make my own ketchup……
20 basil leaves
12 oz. container fresh mozzerella
Salt and pepper
4 tbs. olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
8 russet potatoes, peeled
1.5 quarts vegetable oil
Preheat broiler on low.
Add oil to large, heavy-bottomed pot (I used a dutch oven). Heat to 325 degrees (you’ll need a candy thermometer for this). While oil heats, prepare your potatoes by slicing them into small wedges. Cut wedges into the same shapes and sizes for even cooking time. You’ll cook your potatoes twice: round one is to cook the insides, round two is to crisp the outsides.
Once oil is heated, lower ¼ of the potatoes into the pot (be careful!! Do not plunk potatoes in – oil is HOT and will burn you!). Work in batches and allow to cook for 4-5 minutes. Make sure the oil temperature stays at 350 (raise/lower burner heat as needed). Transfer potatoes to large bowl lined with paper towels. Raise oil temperature to 375 degrees. Again, working in batches, carefully lower fries into the pot. Allow to fry for 6-7 minutes or until they reach desired crispness. Again, maintain oil temperature at 375. Once all batches are complete, drain on fresh paper towels and sprinkle with salt (use kosher salt, if you have it!). We're using a lot of oil here, so don't throw it away when you're done! You can use it several more times. If you have a funnel, pour it back into the bottle; if you don't (I don't), you can pour it into a large sealable tupperware.
While fries cook in batches, add olive oil to a small saucepan. Place over medium-low heat, then add minced garlic. Cook garlic until fragrant and very lightly golden brown. This will take around 3 minutes. You do not want to burn it – if you do throw it all out (including oil) and start over. Burnt garlic and the oil will ruin any dish.
Slice ciabatta while garlic cooks. Lay ciabatta, open-faced, on a cooking sheet lined with foil. Separate garlic from oil, then drizzle the garlic-flavored oil over open faces of the bread. You’ll do about a ½ tbs. of oil for each piece of bread. Place under broiler. Allow to become golden brown around bread edges only, 3-4 minutes. Remove bread from oven.
While bread browns, slice mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil. Slice basil by laying all the leaves in a stack and then roll the stack tightly. Use a sharp knife to slice through the roll. This will create thin basil strips.
Build sandwiches: 1 layer mozzarella, then press cooked garlic pieces into the mozzarella. Use as many pieces as you like per sandwich, to taste. Layer tomatoes and sprinkle very lightly with salt. Sprinkle basil strips over tomatoes. Close sandwich and serve alongside with hot fries.