Why has it taken me so long to discover these?! I am a bona fide potato-holic. Spuds and I go way back. They've been my favorite food for as long as I can remember, yet, until recently it never occurred to me to deep fry them (other than chips --er, fries, of course)!
So I was flipping through my latest cookbook purchase when I came across the words fried mashed potato balls. There was no recipe for them, they were just mentioned in passing. I was immediately intrigued and set out to make these on my own. It seems most people make mash potato balls to use up leftover mash. Really? You people actually have mashed potatoes left over? I don't think I've ever sat down to an offering of mashed potatoes that I couldn't polish off. No potato dish--mashed, roasted, gratin, boiled--ever goes uneaten in my house!
Here's my take, freshly made deep fried mash potato. For heaven's sake, don't even consider making this with instant mash!
Deep Fried Loaded Mash Potato::Marabel potatoes, Applewood Smoked cheddar, dried chives, fresh sour cream, rock salt, pancetta, chives, seasoning, mustard powder, milk, butter, batter, breadcrumbs
The thing that makes this dish so special to me is its zingyness. You've got that salty pancetta blended with the lightly salted sour cream and the delicate crunch of breadcrumbs with warmed mash (dotted with chives) oozing forth.
Note: There are no exact quantities needed for this recipe. No exact ingredients either--everybody likes different things in their potatoes, so just go with what you know and what your family enjoys.
That said, here's how I made my deep fried loaded mash potato:
Add roughly diced Marabel potatoes* to a pot of boiling water. Allow to boil for 15 to 20 minutes, strain and proceed to mash incorporating seasoning, milk, a little butter and drived chives. Note, lumpy mash yields better balls than mash that is too smooth.
Grate over any smoked cheddar cheese that you prefer, add a dash or two of mustard powder, give it a good stir and refrigerate until firm.
Once the mash has firmed up a bit (shouldn't take long if the mash still has some lumps), shape into balls. This is the fun part--you can do millions of little balls using a melon baller, or hearty orbs using an ice cream scoop. Or, and I plan to do this one day, enormous grapefruit-sized balls. Whatever you fancy.
Once you have your balls formed, drop them in batter, then coat individually in breadcrumbs. I found the best way to crumb the battery balls is to pour some breadcrumbs into a bowl, drop a ball in and roll it around quite vigorously. This way, you kind of knock the shape back into the ball and don't end up with a crusty breadcrumb manicure.
Fry the balls until golden, this should only take a couple of minutes. Place the balls on a lined cookie sheet or plate to the let the excess oil drain off before garnishing with crispy pan-fried pancetta, fresh chives, salted sour cream (add some rock salt to store bought sour cream, it really makes a difference) and more of the smoked cheddar.
*Marabel potatoes are a European cultivated potato from Germany and The Netherlands with a sweet taste, creamy texture and yellow flesh. In America, they can be substituted with the Canadian Yukon Gold variety of potato.