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As you probably know by now, I love fried potatoes in all forms. But tots hold an extra special place in my heart – they were my favorite cafeteria food as a child and a weekend staple in college. So when I stumbled upon Mark Bittman’s recipe for tater tots, I wasted no time making them.

Though I normally avoid processed corn products, I made an exception here since the quantity called for is so small. Makes about 40 tots – happy frying!

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Ingredients:
2 pounds brown skinned, starchy potatoes, peeled (about four medium potatoes)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon each of salt, pepper and garlic powder
Canola oil for frying

1. Prepare potatoes by boiling for approximately 12-15 minutes (7 – 10 for smaller potatoes). Potatoes are ready when they are nearly tender – poke them with a fork to check.

2. Plunge potatoes into cool water to halt cooking, then grate using a food processor or box grater. (You may need to chop the potatoes a little after grating; the pieces should be no more than a quarter inch in length.)

3. Mix potatoes with cornstarch and salt, pepper and garlic powder.

4. Pour canola oil to a depth of 1/2 inch in a large, heavy bottomed skillet and heat over medium flame til nearly smoking.

5. Form thumb-size balls, then fry until golden, 15 seconds per side.

6. Drain tots on paper towels and let cool. When all tots are fried, bake at 400 until crisp – about 30 minutes, turning once.

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