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Fried Mashed Potato Balls

Turn cold leftover mashed potatoes into a post-Thanksgiving Hanukkah—or anytime—treat. These decadent fried potato balls take their cue from Jewish and Jewish-Italian recipes using mashed potato. My version, which is gluten-free, gets extra flavor and crunch from a crushed potato chip coating that surrounds a cheese- and herb-spiked potato filling. Keep the balls small so they cook through easily and hold their shape. Although spectacular plain, serve with sour cream, ranch dressing, or other dipping sauce if desired. You can also make them ahead—see note below.
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine Jewish, Jewish-Italian

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups cold leftover mashed potatoes (ideally chilled at least 24 hours)
  • 2 tablespoons potato starch
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh chives or about ¾ teaspoon dried chives
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red (cayenne) pepper
  • ½ cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 2 cups finely crushed regular potato chips, about one 5-ounce bag (such as Utz brand)
  • Vegetable oil for frying, about 1.5 quarts

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl, use a fork to combine the mashed potatoes, starch, chives, onion powder, ground red pepper, cheese, and salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Shape into 1- to 1¼ -inch balls. Roll in beaten egg and then potato chip crumbs, then set aside on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Transfer the pan to the freezer for about 45 minutes to firm up the balls.
  • About 10 minutes before ready to fry, heat 1½ to 2 inches of oil to 325°F in a large, deep-sided heavy pan over medium heat.
  • Fry in small batches of 6 to 8 to avoid crowding the pan and cooling the oil too much. Cook, turning frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown and hot all the way through. (If potato starts to seep out before a ball is done, briefly lift it out of the oil with tongs and then place it back in.) Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Allow the oil in the pan to return to 325°F before frying the next batch.
  • Serve hot or warm, with sour cream or ranch dressing for dipping if desired.

Notes

To bake them instead of frying: Bake at 400°F (convection bake setting) on a foil-lined baking sheet for about 10 minutes.
For alternative coatings (not gluten-free): Substitute panko (crispy, but not quite as flavorful) or Italian-style bread crumbs (very flavorful, but not as crispy).
To make ahead: Cool the fried balls, then freeze in a sealed bag. To serve, bake at 350°F on a baking sheet until hot, about 20 minutes.
Keyword Gluten-Free, Hanukkah, potato