Forgive me in advance for this recipe. It is completely unhealthy and extremely unfriendly to your figure. But I feel that if Paula Deen can make deep-fried mac and cheese, I can make deep-fried cheesy potatoes. Only make this recipe if you have a written note from your physician telling you it's OK.
First of all, I'm going to ask you all to step forward and admit that at one time or another, you've made cheesy potatoes. You know the kind I'm talking about, made with frozen hash browns, canned cream of chicken soup, sour cream and cheddar cheese. If you don't admit to it, I'll understand, but I'm going to have to call you a bold-faced liar and then we'll just agree to disagree, K?
Cheesy potatoes are kind of my signature dish. They're often requested for family get-togethers and potlucks. Who am I to deny family and friends of their favorite potato dish even though it's totally Sandra Lee and requires no culinary skills whatsoever. I comply with their request and accept the accolades. Done deal.
Well, a few weeks ago I got a little over zealous with the old cheesy potatoes and decided to make a double batch. One batch was going to work with hubby for a take-in lunch, and the other batch was to be used as a side dish for the "fish extravaganza" weekend I was going to have with my friend. Needless to say, I had cheesy potatoes coming out my ears (great visual, eh?) and I needed to find a way to serve them that would be different and interesting. Thus the birth of the deep-fried cheesy potato tot. And can I just tell you? (said in my best Sandra Lee voice) that these are to die for. I plan on tucking this recipe away and making these for my Christmas Eve appetizer buffet. I'll most likely have to forge the written note from my physician, however.
Cheesy Potato Tots (makes about two dozen)
2-3 cups leftover cheesy potatoes, cold
pickled jalapeno slices, optional
1 cup all-purpose flour
salt and pepper
2 whole eggs, whisked with a couple of tablespoons of water and a couple of dashes of hot sauce
2 cups panko bread crumbs
Roll cold cheesy potatoes into 3/4" balls. If you're feeling sassy, place a slice of jalapeno pepper in the center.
Place potato balls onto a plate that has been lined with wax paper. Place balls in freezer for a least an hour. This will make them much easier to handle when you coat them.
Heat approximately 4 inches of vegetable oil in heavy pot or deep fryer to 375 degrees.
Place flour in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper.
Place whisked eggs in another shallow dish.
Place panko bread crumbs into a third shallow dish.
Dredge potato balls in the flour, then dip them into the egg wash, then coat them with the panko crumbs. Gently drop the balls into the heated oil and fry for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.