A few years ago at the New York State Fair, I tried fried mashed potatoes for the first time. Bacon cheese mashed potatoes, to be precise. I didn’t know what to expect, but it came as four little balls on a skewer, in a very thin batter. The batter was light and crisp, and the potatoes were truly delicious. It’s become a must-have for me now, whenever I visit the Fair.
The first time I tried deep frying, I made some of those. I made up a batch of mashed potatoes with cheese, and froze balls of them. I forget if I used bacon bits at the time. But they turned out pretty well, so I thought I’d do it again sometime. Since I have batter to use up, sometime is Saturday.
This is really easy to do. First, make some mashed potatoes. I like to use Betty Crocker’s instant potatoes, because I’m lazy and the butter variety is really good. These are like the gold standard of instant potatoes. I use one packet’s worth (there are two to a box), which yields about two cups, and then I mix in about 4 oz. of shredded sharp cheddar till it’s all a beautiful golden hue. I didn’t use bacon this time; the age of the bacon bits in my fridge was a little suspect.
Get some kind of container you can stick in your freezer, and start making little mashed potato balls. You can use an ice cream scoop; this time I just used a couple of spoons. I got eight balls’ worth (about an inch to an inch and a half wide, so they’re on the small side) out of what I didn’t eat, and they’re freezing now. They’re slightly stuck together, but they won’t be hard to separate later.
Now use this batter recipe and up the salt in it by a lot; consider quadrupling it, because the recipe doesn’t include enough. My leftover batter is a bit thick, so I’ll probably add a smidge more water this time. I’d say from past experience that one batch of batter is probably enough to do about a dozen two-inch mashed potato balls, maybe a little more, so it’s probably plenty. But hey, it doesn’t hurt to make extra and fry something else.
Once the oil’s hot (375°), get out your frozen mashed potato balls, dip them in batter, and stick them in the fryer till they’re done a couple minutes later. Drain off the excess oil on a paper towel, skewer a few together, and enjoy. It’s that easy.
With the Fair coming up, I’ll have a chance to have the real thing again, as well as more fried macaroni and cheese. Make no mistake, I do intend to try again on that, but it won’t be right away.
As for the rest of this weekend, preseason football starts on Sunday. I’m going to fire up the oven and have chicken wings marinated in Kikkoman teriyaki. They’re just the best. I like to mix the regular teriyaki with their garlic teriyaki as well; the result tastes far less potently of garlic than it smells, which I’m still not sure is a good or bad thing. The hard part will be keeping Hobbes from getting so excited that he knocks the bowl of wings off my tray table as he jumps around frantically. My cats eat well during football season.