A Sweet & Vitamin-Packed Alternative
One of my favorite foods is a sweet potato tot. Is this surprising, since plain tater tots (without the infusion of sweet potato antioxidants and fiber) are so decadent and diet busting? Not at all; the slight sweet flavor that comes along with the sweet potato makes it perfect for the addition of innovative sauces, like the honey-mustard one below.
The little darlings are fairly simple to prepare at home, too. When that's the case, you can add your own favorite flavors, not just as a sauce, but right to the heart of the tot, as well, like the bacon, garlic, oregano and curry powder featured in the recipes below:
SWEET POTATO AND BACON TOTS WITH CREAMY MUSTARD DIPPING SAUCE
Yields 4 Servings
Sweet potato tots:
Salt, to taste
2 large Sweet potatoes, unpeeled
2 strips Bacon
3 cups Vegetable oil
3 heaping Tbsps
Mustard dipping sauce:
2 Tbsps mayonnaise
1 Tbsp Honey
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
To prepare tots: Boil a pot of salted water. Add the potatoes and partially cook, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and set aside. Meanwhile, add the bacon to a small skillet over medium heat and cook until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate. Finely chop the bacon when cooled.
Carefully heat the oil to 300°F in a straight-sided skillet. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, shred the potatoes using either a box grater or shredding attachment on a food processor.
Place 4 sheets of paper towels on a countertop. Dump the potatoes on top of the paper towels and fold the towels over the potatoes. Squeeze as much moisture out of the potatoes as possible. (This is the trick to make perfect tater tots; too much moisture will result in little pieces of potato all around your skillet when frying.) Combine the potatoes with the bacon, flour and ½ teaspoon salt. Mix well to combine.
Form the potato mixture into small logs using a 1 tablespoon measuring spoon. Working in batches, carefully fry the tots in the skillet until golden brown, 2½ to 3 minutes. Adjust the heat, as needed, to keep the oil at 300°F. Carefully transfer the tots to a paper-towel-lined plate to strain excess fat. Sprinkle the tots with salt while still warm.
To prepare dipping sauce: Combine the mayo, honey and mustard in a small bowl. Sprinkle the sauce with salt and pepper. Serve the sweet potato and bacon tots hot with the creamy mustard dipping sauce.
BAKED GARLIC SWEET POTATO TOTS
Yields 8 Servings
Curry powder, to taste
Garlic powder, to taste
1 tsp Salt
Dried oregano, to taste
2 small Sweet potatoes, unpeeled
½ cup Panko bread crumbs
Grate sweet potato and par-boil for 2 minutes in a pot of salted boiling water. After par-boiling, place potatoes in a bowl of ice water to stop it cooking further. Drain thoroughly, carefully squeezing out moisture.
Shred potatoes. In a large bowl, mix together potatoes, egg, salt, oregano and curry powder. In a separate bowl, mix panko bread crumbs and garlic powder. Roll potato into approximately 2-inch pieces and coat with panko crumbs.
Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 425°F for 20 minutes, carefully turning halfway through.
Photo courtesy of FoodNetwork.com Lisa Messinger is a first-place winner in food writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the author of seven food books, including Mrs. Cubbison's Best Stuffing Cookbook and The Sourdough Bread Bowl Cookbook.