I originally made these as fries, but as they softened in the heat of the kitchen, they would break, so decided that in the future they would be made as tots. Please note, the pictures are from the original fries idea.
Makes enough for 3 people as a side if you are making the Bun Burgers pictured with them. If you are making just the tots, recipe will serve 4 as a side.
3 large baking potatoes (about 3/4 to 1 pound each)
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 eggs, beaten, used separately
2 oz sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 to 3/4 cup AP flour
1/2 to 3/4 cup unseasoned dry bread crumbs
salt and ground black pepper
Cooking oil of your choice
Peel the potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces and cook in boiling salted water 10-15 minutes or until tender. Drain (reserve about a cup of the water if you are making the Bun Burgers). Place potatoes back into pan and place back on the still hot burner for a few minutes, tossing every couple of minutes until they are sort of dried out. Mash potatoes very well with a masher or use a ricer. (If you are making the Bun Burgers, remove 1 cup of lightly packed potatoes at this time.) Add the butter and aggressively salt and pepper the potatoes and mix until the butter melts and potatoes cool a bit. Add 1 beaten egg and mix. Stir in the cheese. Turn the mixture out onto a parchment or Silpat covered baking sheet. Pat the potato mixture into an about 1 inch thick square or rectangle. Place into the refrigerator for at least 1 hour in order to firm up.
Once the potato mixture is well chilled, start your oil heating to 375 degrees F. Remove the potatoes from the refrigerator and cut strips lengthwise around 1 inch thick, then cut crosswise into about 1 inch strips, making more or less 1 inch cubes.
Set up a breading station by placing the flour and breadcrumbs in separate containers (or just use wax paper like I do for easy clean-up). Season the flour and breadcrumbs with salt and pepper. Add about 3 Tbsp water to the beaten egg and mix well.
Bread the tots by first dipping into flour, then egg wash, then bread crumbs. After you have done enough for the first batch, drop them into the oil (be careful and don't splatter oil onto yourself) and fry until golden brown. Remove to paper towels to drain, and salt. Repeat until you have cooked them all. Serve immediately as they tend to soften the longer they sit.