Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Michel Richard's Spuddies

A month ago, I borrowed a cookbook by Chef Michel Richard called Happy in the Kitchen . It’s a glorious big cookbook, with nice color photos and an easy narrative style. Chef Richard owns Citronelle, a Zagat rated restaurant in Washington DC. (I’ve eaten there once. ) So the book does have some pretty ‘cheffy’ type recipes, but it promises to adapt the techniques for the home kitchen. Anyhow, several of Chef’s recipes intrigued me, so I copied them and will try them out as time goes by.

Spuddies are Chef Richard's version of TaterTots, those small logs of chopped potatoes found in the freezer aisle of the grocery store. Now why would I bother to make TaterTots when I can buy a bag? Because the recipe was interesting and innovative AND because I wanted to see if it could really be done in a home kitchen. Also, the recipe’s technique can possibly be applied to other vegetables. Since the godchildren were visiting over the weekend, I thought it would make a good project for us.

The recipe is pretty straightforward: peel 1 ½ pounds yukon gold potatoes, process in a food processor with 2 cups water, until the potato is chopped into ¼ inch pieces. Drain. Dry. Toss in the oven with unflavored gelatin. Remove. Mix with Wondra flour and ground coriander. Shape into logs. Chill. Slice. Double fry.

Here are the problems I ran into. My food processor bowl was too small to contain the potatoes and 2 cups of water. For the second batch I made, I processed the potatoes in batches, which worked much better. For the brief time the potatoes spent in the oven, I found that using Silpat or parchment paper helped a great deal, and resulted in less potato sticking to the pan.

The frying was alittle tricky. Chef doesn’t tell you, but the Spuddies are very fragile during the first frying. So don’t move or touch them until they have developed an outer crust. Even jiggling the pan can result in a messy spudsplosion.

The Spuddies were crisp, golden brown with a clean potato flavor. After the first batch, we experimented with a second batch by adding a quarter of an onion to the potato mixture. That was a hit with my godchildren too.

The most important thing was that my godchildren had fun making their own Spuddies. The second most important thing was the Spuddies didn’t contain any weird preservatives, artificial colorings, artificial flavorings, etc.

Nutritional info for Chef Richard’s Spuddies (using The entire recipe makes 20 Spuddies.
For the entire recipe uncooked:
Cal: 369, total fat 1 gram, carbs 78 grams, fiber 6 grams, protein 15 grams

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