The Tater Tot. Second only to the french fry as the way most kids are introduced to the potato. As a kid you would probably give these in the school lunch room or at home as an after school snack. That experience I am sure came along with a heaping mound of ketchup, you had to flavor them with something, pretty bland on their own. I say now is the time to graduate to a new tot experience. One that is more sophisticated, more flavorful, more healthy (although frying still doesn’t make it a “health food”), and best of all, more flavorful. All tot lovers you need to try Giada’s Sweet Potato Tots with Dill Dust from her latest episode of Giada at Home. You have a crunchy & herbaceous exterior, and soft and sweet inferior. Below you will find my shopping and cook notes fro this recipe. Visit Food Network’s website to print the recipe
SHOPPING FOR THE INGREDIENTS
1. Dill can be found at the store in usually two ways, either as a bunch where you find the stores greens (lettuces, kale, collards, etc) or you can find it in a plastic package hanging along with other herbs in a refrigerated section. The bunch of dill I bought wasn’t all that big but it was still enough to get the job done.
2. Choose a large sweet potato that is more long than thick. It will cook quicker that way and will be easier to hold for peeling.
3. For the frying oil you have many options. I find that each Food Network chef has a certain oil she prefers, Giada like safflower oil, Rachel loves her olive oil, Robert Irvine uses grape seed oil. Any neutral tasting oil with a high smoke point will work. I used a non-GMO sunflower oil I got at Trader Joe’s.
4. Diamond Crystal is my choice for kosher salt. I like that shape of it better than the Morton kosher salt. Diamond is also the choice of the man who put kosher salt on the map, Alton Brown.
MAKING THE TOTS
1. First I made the dill dust or dill salt. Get the dill finely chopped and combine it with the salt. I the laid it out on some parchment, in an even layer as possible and in 30 minutes all the moisture was gone and it was lighter in color. I saved the parchment to put the uncooked tots on.
2. The recipe makes more dill dust then you need, so save it for later use, like sprinkling onto popcorn!
3. This recipe you boil the sweet potato whole before peeling. You don’t cook it all the way through. Don’t worry it will be perfectly cooked when fried. I was making a batch of vegetable stock at the same time, so when I was done boiling the sweet potato, I just dumped the water into the stock pot. It added a wonderful flavor to my stock, I was very glad I did that.
4. I was at first worried that amount of flour would not be enough. But then I remember I making tots, not gnocchi. The tots will be sticky, but that’s ok, just roll with it.
5. The biggest challenge with frying is getting the oil the right temperature. I thought I had it at 350 degrees, put my tots in. Problem was my pan keep heating up and it got too high. The first few were a little too dark. Maintain the temperature for a few minutes before frying is the best way to go. I monitor the temperature using an infrared thermometer. I would not fry without it!
6. The recipe made about the 24 tots, she said it would. You will need to double the recipe at least if you are serving to a bigger group.
7. The sunflower oil I cooked in was still pretty clean after cooking. After letting it cool I put it into a Ball jar and into the fridge for later frying sessions. I refrigerate it just in case any food particles remain that might turn the oil bad. You can also strain the oil through a sieve or for cleaner results a coffee filter.
RATING THE RECIPE
Awesome recipe! Adding the dill dust really made it a home run. I would not have thought to do that. This summer I will be making more dill dust with the dill I grow in my garden. It was not too hard to make either. Great way to impress your family and friends for your next get together. The sweet potato is a way to add more nutrients than a standard white potato. I want to try this recipe using Stokes Purple Sweet Potatoes next time I can find them. I used them to make gnocchi once it was turned out so pretty in purple!