Saturday, January 28, 2012

Potater Tots

My first attempts - not half as nice looking as my later attempts, post-tweaking.

Time: Approx. 30 min. total
(15 min. prep/11-12 min. cook)

2 russet potatoes
1-2 finally chopped green onions, green and white parts
1-2 cloves of garlic
3-4 Tb. olive oil
salt to taste
Note - any herbs you like with potatoes could be substituted here, as long as you use a large enough amount. Garlic alone is great, and so is green onion alone.

Equipment needed
couple of glass plates
Iron skillet (or something else that can be used both on the stove top and in the oven)

1. Preheat oven to 425 F.

2.Grate the potato, skin and all, using two different sizes on the grater. The teeny, tiny grater size and the regular grater size (medium? Large? Not sure what it's called). You want about a 1:2 ratio of tiny gratings to regular gratings. Mix these together until the tiny shreddings are mixed evenly through the grated potato pieces.

3. Put these in a big pile of paper towels or a non-fuzzy tea towel and squeeze out most of the water. You want to leave a little bit, though. Just squeeze until no more water is coming out after one pass through.

4. Put the iron skillet on the stove top and set the temperature to medium high to heat as you form your potater tots. If you think the forming will take longer, you may want to wait on heating it up, though.

5. Place grated potato in a bowl and mix with the green onions, garlic, and salt, or whatever seasonings you are using. Get out a plate or two. Taking a small amount of potato shreds at a time, on the plate form them into small cakes about 2 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick. Basisally, squish the potato in your hand, drop it on the plate, and then press hard against the plate until it is the right size and shape. The won't hold together great; that's expected.

3. Add 3-4 Tb. of oil to the skillet to heat. This can be done with about 2 Tb of oil, but a little more oil makes a crispier outside, the few times I've done it. Or rather, the few times the kids helped and we got more oil than intended. :-D

4. To move the tots to the skillet, get the plate over the skillet, as close as you can to it, and just slide them off onto the skillet. When we've done it this way, we've managed to keep the tots keep their shape as long as the plate was very close to the skillet while sliding them in.

5. Fry them on the skillet for 1-2 minutes, until it's nice and crispy brown on the bottom. If there is more oil, the entire bottom with be nicely brown. If there's less oil used, the browning will be more spotty. Flip them over and cook for another minute or so, just browning a little bit. Then take the entire skillet and move it to the oven. Cook for 8 minutes or until done.

Makes about 24-27 'tots'

Shauna's Notes:
Inspired by: The idea of using the iron skillet is all Gluten Free Girl, from her Potato Pancakes recipe, as well as the idea for using green onions rather than regular onions (Yeah, don't try to use those. Not so great). Using different sized shreds is actually from a complete mis-reading of her recipe the second time I tried it when attempting her potato pancakes, which has turned out to be a great mistake.

What worked: The taste is awesome, a bit greasy (that's a good thing, as far as I'm concerned), and totally makes me think of the Ore-Ida Tater Tots that I can't eat any more. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. I like it better with both garlic and onion, but onion is fine on its own. I can't use any starches, which was a problem when I was first fiddling with this, but the different sized gratings seem to help keep the tots together somewhat. As long as the smaller size is very small, that is.

What didn't work: The kids liked the little potater tots all right, but have expressed a preference for the larger ones, more like the size used in the Gluten Free Gal's potato pancake recipe. They enjoy more soft potatoes. I actually preferred the little ones, but that could be nostalgia talking as well as the fact that this is my 'allergy challenge' and I might not have the chance to eat these again any time soon if it doesn't work out. I tried 2 potatoes this time simply because that's as many as I had today, but more would be better. The tots were eaten very fast and the kids were hungry for more.

What could be done to improve it: If there is a pepper you can use, that would be tasty, I think. Something added to help the grated potato hold together would likely make the entire tot easier to handle, but I don't know how it affects the texture and taste. Probably not by too much, considering this is what the Gluten Free Gal does and she has tasty looking stuff.

Overall, this recipe gets a thumbs up.

Changes and suggestions to this recipe can be found: here.

SULFITE FREE  - Many folks with sulfite sensitivity can't have onions or garlic, so just omit it. I like to add chile peppers or other herbs, instead.

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