I love deep-frying stuff. We had some leftover instant mashed potatoes (scandalous, I know), and I was thinking that they need to be deep-fried. So I did that.
But first, I needed to figure out if they needed a coating—they did—and maybe a filling—they did. What I came up with was potato balls stuffed with cheese, roasted garlic and bacon. All were good, but next time I would use a lot more filling. Each potato ball had only one type of filling.
I used two coatings for these: panko and cornmeal. The panko was definitely the better coating, as the cornmeal looked kind of anemic after cooking, and it had a weak crunch. The balls in the photos are panko-coated.
After all that, it turns out that what I “developed” were basically papas rellenas, a popular croquette from Latin America. Variants have different fillings, such as ground beef and onions, olives and various. Guess I was on to something!
What you’ll need:
- Chilled mashed potatoes—obviously, the amount you make determines how many balls you can make
- Your favorite cheese, cut into 0.5-inch (or larger) cubes—I happened to use sharp cheddar
- Sliced bacon, cooked and chopped
- Roasted garlic cloves
- Panko for coating (or breadcrumbs or cornmeal)
- Neutral oil for frying
What to do:
Make sure your potatoes are very well chilled. Take a spoonful of potato to make about a 1.5-inch ball. Form it into a ball and stick your finger in it to make a cavity. Add the filling and reform the potato around it. Roll into shape and set aside.
Repeat until you’re out of mashed potatoes.
Heat a few inches of neutral oil to 350 degrees F in a cooking vessel of your choice. Warning: do not use a round-bottom wok for this because of the tip-over/spill hazard!
Using heat-proof slotted spoon, submerge batches of 4 or 5 balls, one at a time, into the oil. Make sure they don’t stick together. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until the coating is golden brown.
Remove from the oil with the slotted spoon and place on a cooling rack over a plate.
Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce.
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