Sometimes, when I am in the kitchen, I find myself channeling famous (and not-so-famous) chefs. I don’t think I have ever made a Cajun recipe without exclaiming “Bam!” at some point, and I’ve yet to make a pot of mussels without asking myself “What would Chef Alex do?” (The answer, btw, is invariably “bacon”.)
Last night, however, as I was peering into a container of cold, leftover potatoes, a different sort of voice popped into my head.
So, yup, you guessed it… I made tots. These tots are unlike Napoleon’s fave snack in that they are more like silky pillows of cheesy mashed potatoes in a light, non-fried panko coating. After 3 days of Halloween-related junk-food, I needed to bring back some semblance of healthy. That, said, I do have to admit that Chef Alex’s influence came in right at the last minute and the mascot somehow ended up with a side of bacon on his plate. I drew the line at the shot of rye. Dynamite Panko Tots
Place panko crumbs in a shallow bowl and season with a little salt.
Pulse potatoes in the bowl of a food processor until coarsely chopped.
Add egg and salt, process until just smooth, but not whipped.
Transfer to a bowl and stir in grated cheese.
Working with a mounded tablespoon at a time, form the mixture into “tots”.
Once all of the potato mixture has been used up, roll each tot in the panko crumbs, coating all sides and being careful not to distort their shape.
Place tots on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 20 mins at 400 degrees, turning once.
Serve hot…or place in the pocket of your pants for later. (No, don’t.) Note: the panko crumbs will never really get to the golden brown shade that deep-fried tots are known for, so if you are looking for that sort of thing, try crushed corn flakes or (god forbid) crushed potato chips.