Pizza Tater Tots

It's about 328 degrees here on the East Cost in good old Baltimore, so you shouldn't be wearing them - but if you are, prepare to have your socks knocked off!  Homemade tater tots are some of the easiest things that you can make to save yourself from the expense and additives (dextrose, disodium dihydrogen pyrophosphate, "natural" flavoring, etc.) of store-bought stuff.  The best thing about tots is that SO MANY different things taste great with potato, you can come up with your own version of tater tots as often as you'd like!  I made Jalapeno Cheddar Tots previously (on my blog, too!), but these pizza tots may outshine them.  Between the spicy pepperoni, creamy cheese, and all those good dried spices you'd find on a pizza - you won't know if you're eating pizza rolls or tater tots.  

What You'll Need:
  • 3 pounds white baking potatoes
  • 3 cups pepperoni
  • 1 cup black olives
  • 1 tablespoon each, dried oregano, dried basil, onion powder, garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella, finely shredded
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 6 cups vegetable oil, for frying

1.  Begin by boiling the potatoes until tender, about 8-10 minutes.  Remove from water and let cool, enough to handle.  Using a box grater, shred potatoes into a bowl lined with cheesecloth or kitchen towel.  When all shredded, wrap and squeeze the towel until all the excess water is removed from potatoes.  Set aside.

2.  In a food processor, add pepperoni and pulse until chopped into a fine mixture.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl.  Add spices, cheese, and reserved potatoes and toss until full incorporated.  Sprinkle with flour and ensure mixture is nice and dry, easy to form tots.

3.  Begin to form your tater tots.  The easiest way is the slide them back and forth between your hands, and then press both top and bottom to form the cylinder shape.  (Or, if you're like my friend Jake, just give up entirely and make them into balls.)  You want the cylindrical shape so people know they're tots!  Makes about 5 dozen regular-sized tots, or about 16 MACHO TOTS (in which I stuffed with cheese -- pictured above.)

4.  Once you've formed all the tots, heat oil in a large pot to 350-degrees.  Drop your tots in batches, making sure they don't fall in and stick together.  Fry for about 3 minutes, until the outside becomes crisp and golden brown.  Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.  Sprinkle with some extra Parmesan and serve alongside marinara sauce for dipping.


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