Considering how much we love potatoes and fried things in this country, it is positively shocking that pommes dauphine isn’t a staple food in the United States. This nation is constantly seeking out new items to toss into a vat of boiling oil, so why have deep-fried butter and Oreos been normalized before pommes dauphine, a mixture of mashed potatoes and pâte à choux (aka cream puff dough)?
That’s right: Potato. Puffs. Deep. Fried. Little fluffy nuggets of mashed potato goodness that are crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. And once you’ve got these tasty orbs of joy fried golden brown, you can toss them in anything: spice blends, cheese powder, or, like in this recipe, seasoned salt.
Potato Puffs with Vinegar Salt
- 3 medium Russet potatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs.)
- 2/3 cup milk
- 5 Tbsp. butter
- 3/4 cup flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 3/4 tsp. black pepper
- Malt vinegar salt (recipe follows)
- Oil, for frying
Stab the potatoes all over with a fork—really go to town on it, because the more holes, the better. Microwave uncovered for 10 minutes, flipping the potatoes over halfway through. Check the potatoes for doneness by piercing with a sharp knife; if there’s any resistance, continue microwaving in one-minute increments until the knife glides through easily.
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When the potatoes are done, immediately split them into quarters; after a minute or so, when cool enough to touch, peel and discard the skins, then roughly crumble the potatoes on a plate to allow steam to escape.
Fill a Dutch oven or high-walled saucepan with at least 4 inches of frying oil, and clip on a frying thermometer. Begin preheating the oil over high heat until it reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a separate large saucepan over medium-high heat, cook the milk and butter together, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the butter is melted and the mixture simmering. Dump all the flour in at once and stir until everything comes together into a soft dough.
Reduce the heat to low, grab the saucepan’s handle tightly, and begin stirring vigorously for 1 minute, until the dough begins to leave a light film on the bottom of the pan. Plop the dough into a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, then beat it on medium speed until you no longer see steam escaping. Add the eggs one at a time, letting each incorporate fully before adding the next, then add the potatoes, salt, and pepper, and beat until smooth. Taste for seasoning, adjusting as necessary.
Working in batches and being careful not to crowd the pan, use an ice cream scoop, food disher, or two large spoons to drop balls of dough (the size is up to you) into the hot oil, and cook for 1-2 minutes until golden brown. Remove the puffs with a spider or wire strainer, give a tiny shake to remove any excess oil, then toss while warm with malt vinegar salt (recipe below). Repeat until all the batter is fried; serve immediately.
Malt Vinegar Salt
- 1 cup malt vinegar
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix the salt and vinegar into a paste, then spread out into the bottom of a pan and bake for 1-1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, until fully dehydrated. Allow to cool completely, then crush by hand (or via food processor) into coarse salt.