Given my new job, I spend a lot of time reading (and editing) Cook's Illustrated and Cook's Country recipes. Cook's Country seems to not be as well known as Cook's Illustrated (at least I've noticed that more people ask me what it is when I talk about my job and I didn't know it as well as Cook's Illustrated), but it has some truly great recipes, most of which are typically easier to make and require fewer ingredients than Cook's Illustrated recipes. But because the recipes are also developed at America's Test Kitchen, they undergo the same rigorous testing and guarantee the same success.
I decided to try a couple Cook's Country recipes at home the other night: 30-minute meat loaves and crispy potato tots. I followed the recipe exactly for the meat loaves, so I'm not going to post it here, but I decided to have a little fun with the tots.
Rosemary-truffle fries are one of my favorite indulgences, and I thought the flavor combination would translate well to potato tots and elevate them from simple side to something a little more upscale.
Rosemary-Truffle Tots (And Some Plain Tots Too) (adapted from Cook's Country)
1 cup water
2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon white truffle oil
Stir water and salt together in measuring cup until salt dissolves. Pulse potatoes and salt water in food processor until coarsely ground, 10 to 12 pulses, stirring occasionally.
Drain mixture in fine-mesh strainer, pressing potatoes with rubber spatula until dry. Discard liquid.
Transfer potatoes to bowl, and microwave, uncovered, until dry and sticky, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking.
Stir flour and pepper into potatoes. Spread half of potato mixture into thin layer on one half of large sheet of aluminum foil. Stir Parmesan, rosemary, and truffle oil into other half of potato mixture. Spread second half of potato mixture on other half of foil. Let cool for 10 minutes.
Take a 2-inch wide piece of foil and fold it in half and in half again lengthwise. Use this as a partition between the plain and rosemary-truffle tots.
Push each type of potato mixture toward center of foil, and place foil and potatoes in 8-inch square baking pan. Push foil into corners and up sides of pan, smoothing it flush to pan. Press each potato mixture tightly and evenly into pan.
Freeze, uncovered, until firm, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat oven to 200 degrees. Heat oil in Dutch oven over high heat until it reaches 350 to 375 degrees. Using foil overhang, lift potatoes from pan and cut each half into 1¼- by 1-inch pieces.
Starting with the plain tots, fry half of them at a time, until golden brown and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Make sure to stir the tots when you drop them in the oil so they don't stick together. Stir occasionally as needed to separate and toss them.
Drain tots on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet, and place in oven.
Bring oil back to 350 to 375 degrees, and repeat with remaining plain potato tots. Then repeat with rosemary-truffle tots. (If you notice the tots getting sticky, place the unfried tots in the freezer to chill while the you have another batch in the oil.)
These were so good! The outsides were crisp and the insides were soft and fluffy. The rosemary-truffle tots had a noticeable, but subtle, taste of truffle oil. I am never buying a bag of frozen tater tots again -- uh, not that I've ever done that before, I mean.
What kind of tots would you make?
Labels: Vegetable dishes