Have you ever had a dish at a restaurant you couldn’t resist trying to recreate at home? You may have already noticed, but I love that challenge! It’s fun to see how close you can get, but also to improve the dish to match your tastes. One of our favorite local spots for brunch is The Commons in Woodinville. The food is great and the service is always friendly! The last time we were there, we shared the Caprese Poutine. It was something totally different and of course tasted delicious! If you’ve never had Poutine, it’s typically made with French fries topped with gravy and cheese curds. It’s Canadian (Québécois to be precise) and is super tasty. While this version still had cheese, the addition of a tomato gravy and basil made it seem light and fresh. I knew I would be making it soon with tomatoes from the garden…and here we are!
I just used frozen French fries so if that’s what you’re using, cook them in the oven according to the package instructions.
While the fries are cooking, you’ll make the tomato gravy. First heat the olive oil in a sauté pan. Next add the chopped tomatoes, salt dried basil. I used mostly red tomatoes because that’s what we had ripe at the time, but use whatever you have that’s the freshest. A variety would be fun!
Simmer for about ten minutes, or until they become a sauce.
Pour that into a pitcher or bowl and wipe the pan down (careful, it’ll still be warm!). Now add the butter to melt over medium heat and whisk in the flour. You’re making a roux for the gravy. I’ll admit, I’m not sure if this is technically a gravy since I think that usually involves stock but let’s go with it.
Once the flour and butter are combined into a paste and are golden, pour in the tomato sauce while whisking.
Once that’s totally combined (it will be fairly thick), whisk in the tomato juice. Take it off the heat and let it set until the fries are done.
Once the fries are done, take them out of the oven and sprinkle with some salt. Set the temperature to 400°. Evenly pour the tomato gravy over the fries and sprinkle on the cheese. We’re using just regular mozzarella here instead of curds, but that’s ok.
Put this back in the oven until the cheese is melted (about ten minutes). Then turn on the broiler and remove from the oven once the cheese is browned and bubbly.
Chop up the basil and sprinkle that on top. Basil can brown easily once it’s cut, which is why you won’t chop it until right before serving.
I really love this dish, I think it is my favorite use of tomatoes thus far! The tomato gravy is unlike anything you’ve probably ever tasted, with the brightness of the tomatoes but also a rich texture. Of course that combined with crisp french fries and melted cheese, who wouldn’t love it! As it sits, the fries soften a little bit but still have texture.
This will definitely feed a crowd. I served it as dinner when Derek had some friends over and it was enough to feed all seven of us. It would also be a real crowd pleaser for football season or a party.
- 1 pound fresh tomatoes, cut into 1/4" dice
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 48 ounces French fries
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 11 ounces (2 small cans) tomato juice
- 16 ounces mozzarella
- 10 large fresh basil leaves
- Cook fries in the oven according to the package instructions.
- Heat olive oil in a saute pan and add chopped tomatoes, salt, and dried basil. Simmer until they become a sauce, about 10 minutes.
- Pour into a pitcher or bowl and wipe the pan down (careful, it'll still be warm!).
- Melt butter in the pan over medium heat and whisk in the flour, whisking until combined and golden.
- Pour in the tomato sauce while whisking. Whisk in the tomato juice.
- Take it off the heat to sit.
- Take the fries out of the oven, sprinkle with some salt, and turn the temperature to 400° (if it's not there already).
- Pour the tomato gravy over the fries and sprinkle on the cheese.
- Put this back in the oven until the cheese is melted (about 10 minutes). Crank the heat up to broil and remove from the oven once the cheese is browned and bubbly.
- Chop up the basil and sprinkle on top.