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Potato Chip-Crusted Macaroni & Cheese Bites

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Ingredients:

– 10 tablespoons Real California butter – 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour – 5 cups Real California heavy cream – 1 1/4 cups each grated Real California white Cheddar, provolone, Swiss and Monterey Jack cheese – 1 1/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper – Kosher salt and pepper – 10 cups uncooked elbow macaroni – 5 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs) – 5 cups crushed potato chips – 2 1/2 cups flour – 8 large eggs, beaten – Rice bran oil for deep-frying Spicy Tomato Jam: – 2 cups sliced white onions – 8 garlic cloves, sliced – 1/4 cup olive oil – 4 quarts canned crushed tomatoes with juice – 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper – 6 tablespoons hot pepper sauce – 2 tablespoons kosher salt

Directions:

In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in flour to make a roux and cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. In a separate saucepan, bring cream to a simmer. Slowly pour hot cream into roux, whisking constantly. Cook for 5 minutes or until thickened, whisking frequently. Add cheeses and cayenne; season with salt and pepper. Cook over low heat until cheeses melt to a smooth consistency, whisking frequently to prevent scorching. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Cook macaroni in 4 gallons heavily salted boiling water for 2 minutes less than package directions state. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain well. Fold macaroni into warm cheese sauce and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or heat-resistant spatula, until macaroni is tender. Coat a shallow hotel pan lightly with cooking spray; pour mixture into pan and spread in an even layer. Refrigerate, covered, until firm. Cut around the edge of the pan to release macaroni. Unmold onto a cutting board; cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes.

In a food processor, pulse panko and potato chips until roughly the same size. Dust macaroni cubes lightly with flour, dip into eggs and toss in panko-potato chip mixture to coat completely. Place on parchment paper-lined sheet pan; refrigerate until needed. (Yield: 72 pieces)

For each serving, to order, deep-fry 3 macaroni cubes in 350°F oil about 4 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Drain on paper towel and sprinkle with salt. Serve with 1/4 cup Spicy Tomato Jam.

To make spicy tomato jam, in a saucepan over medium heat, sweat onions and garlic in oil. Add tomatoes and cayenne; cook over medium heat until reduced to 6 cups. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Add salt and hot pepper sauce and purée in a food processor or blender. (Yield: 6 cups)

Recipe courtesy of Traci Des Jardins, Public House (San Francisco, CA)

Per Order:

Yield: 24 appetizer servings

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