Tre Salumi & Provolone Panini with Herbed Haystack Fries
Thin, crispy fried potatoes tossed with fried herbs make a wonderful accompaniment to salumi and provolone panini.
For the herbed haystack fries:
- 3 large russet potatoes, about 2 lb. total
- Canola oil for frying
- Salt, to taste
- 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh sage leaves
- 1/3 cup small rosemary sprigs, with little or no stems
For the panini:
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 2 Tbs. mayonnaise
- 1 loaf focaccia, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 4 slices, each 3 inches wide
- 3/4 lb. provolone cheese, thinly sliced and each slice cut in half
- 2 oz. Italian salumi, thinly sliced
- 2 oz. herbed salumi, thinly sliced
- 2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch strips
To make the herbed haystack fries, using a knife, square off 3 long sides of each potato, leaving 1 side and the 2 ends untouched. Set a mandoline to 1/8-inch thickness; using a 3/8-inch julienne attachment, create long, thin lengthwise planks of potato. Place the potatoes in a large bowl and add cold water to cover. Just before frying, drain the potatoes thoroughly and place on towels to absorb as much moisture as possible.
In a deep fryer, heat oil to 350°F according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
Working in batches, fry the potatoes until crispy and golden, 3 to 5 minutes per batch. Transfer the fries to the paper towel-lined baking sheet and season with salt. Transfer the fries to a large bowl. Then fry the sage leaves and rosemary sprigs until they are crisp but still retain their color, about 1 minute. Drain on paper towels, then add to the bowl with the fries and toss to combine.
To make the panini, preheat a panini press to medium-high heat according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
In a small bowl, stir together the mustard and mayonnaise. Spread the cut side of each bread slice with the mustard mixture. Place 2 half-slices of cheese on each bottom half of the bread. Top with the salami and roasted bell peppers, dividing evenly. Top with the remaining cheese slices and cover each sandwich with a top half of the bread.
Place 2 of the sandwiches on the preheated panini press, close the lid and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions until the cheese is melted, 5 to 7 minutes. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches. Serve immediately with the haystack fries alongside. Serves 4.