Today we celebrate the great state of Idaho. Idaho is surprisingly active from a geological perspective. Although not necessarily visible to the human eye, vast and varied landscapes are continuously forming, growing and changing thanks to the remarkable volcanic process that makes Idaho the beautiful state it is.
The combined wilderness of Idaho is over 4.7 million acres, greater than the three smallest US states combined. If that’s not enough, if you were to string all the rivers and waterways of Idaho together, it would stretch across the US thirty-eight times. Yet in the summer, Idaho is the 5th driest state in the country.
When it comes to dialect, Idaho is the most neutral of any state in the country. While the dialect may be neutral, Idahoans are ranked as one of the most “cursing like a sailor” states in the country. Perhaps the fact that people in Idaho drink more wine per person than any other state in the country has something to do with their colorful language. But in fairness to Idaho, Washington DC consumes more wine, but since it’s not technically a state (yet), Idaho comes out on top. One more strangely interesting tidbit about Idaho, the highest ethnic population for Idaho is “Other”. Hum . . .
Of all of Idaho’s signature dishes, Finger Steaks are without a doubt a beloved favorite. If you are a fan of Chicken Fried Steak, this dish is right up your alley. There are those that even insist Finger Steaks come with a serving of white gravy. And that’s perfectly okay. So is Fry Sauce a delicious choice. You know me, I love options. So I’ve decided to include both a dipping sauce and a gravy option to accompany Idaho’s Finger Steak and Fries. Enjoy!
Idaho Finger Steaks and Oven Fried French Fries with Fry Sauce and Gravy
2 lbs Flat Iron Steak
1 cup Flour
2 tablespoons Seasoning Salt
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Egg, beaten
1/3 cups Buttermilk
1/4 cup Beer
1 tablespoon Hot Sauce
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set aside. Prepare space in the freezer to hold the sheet while the steak strips freeze.
With a meat mallet, tenderize the steak. Season generously with seasoning salt and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, seasoning salt and black pepper. Set aside.
In another bowl, beat the egg. Add buttermilk, beer and hot sauce. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
Cut the steak into half-inch wide strips about 3 or 4 inches long. Working with one strip at a time, dredge the steak in the flour mixture, then into the egg batter, then back into the flour.
Place the battered finger steaks on the prepared baking sheet. Place in the freezer until frozen.
When ready to cook, line a second baking sheet with foil. Place a wire rack inside the baking sheet. Place in an oven heated to 175 degrees.
Heat oil in a deep fryer or deep pot to 350 degrees. When ready, fry the finger steaks in batches, about 5 at a time, and cook until golden. Transfer to baking sheet in the oven. Continue until all the finger steaks are fried. Hold in the oven until ready to serve.
Serve with French Fries, Fry Sauce and white gravy as desired.
Oven Fried French Fries
1/2 bag Idaho Straight-Cut Fries
1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
Salt to taste
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet. Spray lightly with cooking spray and set aside.
Place frozen fries in a large resealable bag. Drizzle with oil. Close bag, shake to coat the fries in oil. Add more oil if necessary.
Spread fries out on the rack in a single layer. Season with salt.
Place in the heated oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden and crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside.
1 cup Mayonnaise
1/2 cup Ketchup
1/2 tablespoon Dill Pickle Juice
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
Pinch Cayenne Pepper
Dash Smoked Paprika
In a bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, ketchup and pickle juice. Season with onion powder, cayenne pepper, and smoked paprika. Mix thoroughly.
Transfer the sauce to a mason jar with a lid. Cover and refrigerate for several hours for the flavors to bloom.
Place in a small bowl to serve with the Finger Steaks and Fries as a dipping sauce.
Country White Gravy
3 tablespoons Bacon Drippings
3 tablespoons Flour
1-1/2 cups Evaporated Milk
Pinch Kosher Salt
Fresh Black Pepper to taste
Melt bacon drippings in a skillet. Whisk flour into the drippings, stirring continuously for about two minutes.
Whisk in the milk until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Stir until gravy thickens, about 5 minutes.
Place gravy in a boat to use as desired.