Paula: I’m gonna share a little secret here. Serving hot, crispy Tater Tots at a party will make you the most popular person in town. Because secretly, everyone wants to chow down on tots.
Scott: True story. Tots bring people together. They are salty, crunchy - yet soft - and you eat them with your hands. I think of them as tiny, golden, comfort capsules.
Paula: So many burning questions: like why packaged tots are labeled as “Potato Puffs?” Did someone decide that the phrase Tots is politically incorrect? Did a crafty fast food franchise copyright the term? Or do all roads lead back to Napoleon Dynamite’s infamous “Gimme Your Tots?”
Scott: And what about the word Tater for that matter? Has woke culture finally overtaken our ability to give our food silly names? What have we become? How are we supposed to take it to the next level?
Paula: The secret to taking your tots to the next level is tossing them with a liberal dusting of the Texican, and serving them with a side of Chive Crema for dipping. In fact, this version is so tasty it deserves its own name: Totz. If you want to serve Fancy Totz and make your neighbors jealous you could add chopped fresh cilantro and lime wedges to the mix.
Scott: Chow time.
Paula: Serves One
Texican Totz with Chive Crema
Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer or side dish
- Peanut oil, for frying
- One 1.75 pound bag frozen potato puffs
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Texican seasoning, plus more, as desired
- Kosher salt (optional)
- ¾ cup Mexican crema or sour cream
- 1 tablespoon snipped chives, for garnish
Heat approximately ½ gallon peanut oil over high heat until it comes to 350 °F - 375 °F. When the oil is ready, carefully pour the frozen potato puffs in the oil (in batches if necessary to avoid crowding) and cook, stirring occasionally to avoid clumping, until the tots are crisp and golden brown, about 7-8 minutes.
Use a sieve or spider strainer to remove the tots from the oil. Allow them to drain briefly, then transfer to a rimmed baking sheet lined with paper towels. Sprinkle the hot tots with Texican seasoning and additional salt, if desired, and serve immediately with Mexican crema or sour cream topped with chives.
Grill-side banter provided by food writer, cookbook author and grilling enthusiast, Paula Disbrowe, and infamous grill nerd and co-owner of PK Grills, Scott Moody.
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