Just when we thought tater tots were nothing more then the ghosts of school lunches past, Pig & Pickle in Scottsdale, Arizona, revitalizes the cafeteria mainstay. Every day at the restaurant, chef-owners Joshua Riesner and Keenan Bosworth unveil a "tot of the day," ranging from scallion-laced tater tots to the buffalo chicken- and blue cheese-packed "Super Bowl tot." We landed the recipe for the pair's hot dog tot, which boasts an ideal ratio of crisp outside and fluffy inside and is packed with chopped jalapeños, spicy pickles, cheddar cheese and, of course, hot dogs. Though there's no need to strap on a backpack and sharpen your No. 2s to enjoy these tots, we do recommend serving them with plenty of ketchup.
Hot Dog Tot
Recipe adapted from Joshua Riesner and Keenan Bosworth, Pig & Pickle, Scottsdale, AZ
Yield: About 2 dozen tots
1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
2 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 hot dogs
½ small red onion, finely chopped
1 large pickle spear (preferably a spicy pickle), finely chopped
1 pickled or fresh jalapeño, finely chopped
¼ cup finely grated mild cheddar cheese
⅛ teaspoon celery salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
Canola oil, for frying
Ketchup or your favorite tater tot condiment, for serving
1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Season the water with 1 tablespoon of the kosher salt and add the potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are almost tender, about 7 minutes. Add the hot dogs and continue to boil until the potatoes are tender and the hot dogs are heated through, about 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes and hot dogs through a colander and set aside to cool completely.
2. Once the potatoes are cooled, transfer them to a large bowl. Use a potato masher to smash the potatoes until the texture is semi-smooth. Slice each of the hot dogs in half lengthwise, then slice each half in half lengthwise again. Finely chop the hot dog quarters crosswise into small pieces and add the pieces to the large bowl along with the potatoes, onion, pickle, jalapeño, cheese, celery salt, remaining ½ teaspoon kosher salt and black pepper. Use a rubber spatula to mix together until just combined. Use your hands to form the mixture into oblong tots, each about 1½ inches long and ¾-inch thick. Place the tots in a single layer on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
3. Into a medium bowl, add the flour. In another medium bowl, whisk the eggs together. Into a third medium bowl, add the panko. One at a time, coat a tot in the flour, then the egg wash and finally the panko, taking care to cover each tot completely.
4. In a large, shallow saucepan, add just enough oil to come 2 inches up the sides of the pan. Place the pan over medium-high heat and heat the oil until it reaches 350° on an instant-read thermometer. Add the tots in batches (about 5 tots per batch) and fry until the tots are golden-brown on all sides and hot all the way through, about 4 minutes per batch. Use a spider or a slotted spoon to transfer the tots to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Serve the tots hot with ketchup or your favorite condiment.