I’ve observed increasingly over the previous yr or two that Tater Tots, the little cylinder potato-things most of us grew up consuming with faculty lunches and out of freezer luggage at house, are making their means onto restaurant menus.
The Monkey Wrench has featured the Tot with dishes just like the Kentucky Tot Brown and Chili Cheese Tots. Diamond Pub and Billiards has Tots. Drake’s and Zanzabar have Tots. Even Hooters have Tots. (That sounds a bit naughty if you say it out loud.)
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Hell, Foursquare not too long ago posted a listing titled “The Finest 9 Locations for Tater Tots in Louisville.” So what the Tot is occurring right here, anyway? I at all times considered the Tot as being, whereas a reasonably tasty potato morsel, little greater than a bite-sized hash brown. However apparently the little suckers have taken on a lifetime of their very own.
So, I made a decision to perform a little Tot analysis. What I discovered is that variations of Ore Ida’s trademarked product, the Tater Tot, are in style in different international locations as effectively. In England, they’re normally referred to as “potato crunchies,” though I additionally discovered a reference to them as “oven crunches.” In Australia, they’re mostly generally known as “potato gems,” “potato royals” or “potato pom poms.” I even discovered a German reference to Tots as “kroketten,” which most likely stems from the phrase “croquette.” And if you concentrate on it, a Tater Tot is only a potato croquette.
Name them what you’ll, the little guys have loads of allure. Folks need them, and I don’t simply imply youngsters – most adults I do know nonetheless have that internal child lurking inside, and that internal child nonetheless needs his or her Tater Tots.
Living proof, I made a decision to hit Spring Road Bar & Grill not too long ago with a few buddies; Spring Road is my place of option to get Tater Tots, which I are inclined to eat plain with just a bit sizzling sauce somewhat than smothering them in cheese or different toppings (they get soggy, and that’s no good). I figured I’d do some follow-up analysis by consuming Tots. My good friend Jeremy ordered a burger with fries, after which I ordered a rooster fingers basket with Tater Tots as a substitute of fries.
Jeremy instantly piped as much as our server, “You could have Tater Tots? Properly, then skip the fries. I would like Tater Tots, too.”
See? They’re magical in some way. They usually’re nothing greater than grated items of potato clumped collectively and fried till they flip brown and crispy on the skin. That is no revelation, you already know? However in response to the 2011 ebook, “Quick Meals and Junk Meals: An Encyclopedia of What We Like to Eat,” Individuals eat roughly 70 million kilos of Tater Tots yearly. (That’s loads of Tots. “Napoleon Dynamite” most likely had one thing to do with that.)
Ore Ida apparently made them well-known as little cylinders, however there are tons of recipes obtainable to make them at house in no matter form you need. And if you wish to grownup them up a bit, simply add some inexperienced onions, peppers, cayenne, oregano, dill — you get the concept.
And making them at house may be extra fascinating than getting that 10-pound bag at Costco anyway. Retailer-bought Tater Tots had been designed in 1954 to utilize no matter is left over from potatoes which have been used for different merchandise. That observe little question continues immediately, and one description I discovered conjured the picture of individuals on an meeting line with paring knifes reducing the hardly edible items out of rotten potatoes and amassing the bits for grating into Tots. (You possibly can’t consider every thing you learn on the InterWeb, however it’s one thing to think about.)
Anyway, throughout my casual tasting experiment at Spring Road Bar, I dipped a number of of my tasty Tots into wing sauce, dipped a number of into horseradish sauce and easily ate a number of plain. What I skilled was a constant, crunchy morsel that may both be popped and chewed in a single chunk or cut up into two bites. Both means, I received the identical primary potato taste from every one, with the marginally chunky and principally tender middle offsetting a persistent crunch from the golden brown bark.
Actually, I believe I may eat 100 of the issues. It sort of evokes me to purchase a brand new cheese grater, a number of Idaho potatoes, after which going to work to see what sort of grown-up Tot concoctions I could make. I ponder if anybody has ever put meat right into a Tater Tot? That will occur. Brisket Tots, anybody?