Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fried Mashed Potatoes

A couple of weeks ago, we had another fry party in honor of B. Chew's birthday (some of you may remember him as the Noodle Master from a previous post).

We reprised classic buffalo wings, tried to make some fried cheese (disaster), and fried up some garlic because the man is a garlic Fiend (yes, capital F). And, because he was the original mastermind behind our first Bloomin' Onion, we fried up one of those as his birthday cake.

Late in the night, after several tries, we got to the really good stuff: Fried Mashed Potatoes. Originally, these were supposed to be a cross between the potato puffs over at Gregoire in Berkeley and the potato balls at a nearby Dai restaurant.

I went into this kind of blind, so it took the collective smarts of M. Dou, Marissa, and Jeremy to pull this together. Eddy gets a shout-out too, since I pulled from his "Heart Attack Mashed Potatoes" recipe.

Here's what we ended up with:

Fried Mashed Potatoes
AKA: Fried Heart Attack, Tater Tots on Steroids

Mashed potatoes:
(adapted from Alton Brown's potato recipe)
8 medium sized potatoes
1/2 cup of milk
1/2 cup of buttermilk, (1/2 cup milk with 1/2 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice)
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons of butter
3 bulbs of garlic
1/8 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 stalks of green onions, chopped
Salt and Pepper (to taste)

8 strips of bacon (pan-fried, shredded)
1/2 cup of grated cheddar cheese


Wash, peel, and cube the potatoes into 1/2 inch pieces. Put them in a pot with just enough water, cover, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove the lid and simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are soft.

Meanwhile, preheat an oven to 375 degrees F. Take the bulbs of garlic cut the tops off so that each clove has the top part missing. Wrap with aluminum foil but leave the tops open with some extra foil at the top so you can fold it down to cover the garlic. Drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over the garlic. Roast the garlic in the oven until soft, approximately 1 hour. If the tops begin to burn or dry out, close the foil over the top.

Once the potatoes are soft, drain and return to the pot over medium heat for a couple minutes to remove some of the water moisture. Turn the heat off and mash. As you mash, slowly add the milk, buttermilk, cream, and butter until incorporated. Grind in some salt and pepper to taste.

When the garlic is finished roasting, remove from oven and let cool for several minutes. While the garlic is still warm, unwrap the foil, and use paper towels or gloves to hold the back of the bulb and squeeze the garlic into a bowl. If the garlic is finished, it should come out like toothpaste. Only more awesome. Add the grated parmesan cheese (and a bit of butter if you'd like), and mix.

When the potatoes are creamy and mashed, you can add the garlic and green onions (and bacon and cheese) and mix until incorporated.

Fill up a deep fryer or large pot with peanut oil and heat to 350 degrees F. Here in Beijing, we use the aluminum fry pot and basket that our small group got me for my birthday a couple years ago.

Crack some eggs into a bowl, then beat them until the yolk and white are combined. Add a couple splashes of milk. Pour a generous helping of breadcrumbs into a bowl.

Spoon out the potato mixture and roll into individual balls or logs. Dip in the egg mixture, then roll in the breadcrumbs until covered. Set aside on a plate until you have enough for a batch.

Gently slide the potato balls/logs into the fryer, fry for a couple minutes, then roll them over and fry the other side for a couple minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack to let drip, then lightly salt.

Let cool for a couple minutes, but serve while hot. Best served with Marissa's Roasted Red Pepper sauce.

By way of warning, I don't have any nutritional info for you, but I'm pretty sure these are about 1000 calories each, so eat at your own risk!