I won’t blame you. These little potato treats are the best I’ve had, and it’s no secret that restaurants all over the country are concocting better-than versions of the freezer-aisle childhood favorite to go with their steaks, chops, and burgers.
I had these at Markham's Restaurant inside Summerhouse, the clubhouse for residents of Golden Oak, an upscale residential community that opened recently on Disney World property. A Four Seasons resort is also on the Golden Oak premises.
Here’s the snag with getting these beautiful spuds, which are silky soft on the inside with a crispy golden exterior: You can’t eat at Summerhouse unless you live in the community.
Sous Chef David Ormsby was kind enough to share the recipe so readers can make the dish at home. (I’d call it a side dish but, really, who needs the steak when you can pop these until you fill up.)
Snag No. 2: Like every chef I’ve known, Ormsby is just that, a chef—not a recipe writer. The recipe he provided is not for home cooks. It’s for a batch of 45 servings, to start with. It measures items in grams, not cups and tablespoons, and includes ingredients such as caramelized onions without telling you how to caramelize them. "Par fry" and "au sec"--again, to chefs, that's the equivalent of us lay people giving directions such as "boil" and "toast."
That’s how chefs use and exchange recipes.
The recipe is printed below in case you’re up to the challenge. Good luck stuffing the tater-reduced sherry-onion mix into a sausage stuffer. I prefer to dine out than tackle the tough tasks myself. That way chefs do the hard work and I eat a blissful meal.
Or sidle up to the Four Seasons bar hoping to meet a local who’ll take you to dinner at the Golden Oak Summerhouse. It’s worth the fake friendship. Those tater tots are mighty tasty.
French Onion Tater Tots
Recipe by Sous Chef David Ormsby
Yield: 16 lbs. (about 45 orders)
15 lbs. Potatoes, peeled
425 grams Caramelized onion
50 grams Granulated sugar
2.5 Cups Dry sack sherry
100 grams Potato starch
100 grams Kosher salt
10 grams Black pepper
- Cut potatoes into 1” cubes and par-fry at 300°F, just until color begins to develop on the edges.
- Allow potatoes to cool to just above room temperature and grate using Robot Coupe attachment (same as for cheese).
- Reduce sherry along with the sugar, and caramelized Onions until au sec.
- Place caramelized onion into Robot Coupe and blend until smooth.
- Add 1/3 of the grated potatoes to the Robot Coupe and pulse a few times.
- Add the onion mixture to the other 2/3 of potatoes along with the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and pass through sausage stuffer with largest tip.
- Crank 2 to 3 times and place potato cylinders on a sheet tray, then freeze.
- Once potato has firmed up in the freezer, cut into 1” to 1.25” portions.
- Par-fry chilled portions at 300°F until light golden.
- Freeze and reserve for service.
Report back if you try the recipe. I'd love to hear how you did, and I'll share your tips with others.