Restaurant Bea's Bea-utiful Tater Tots

Photo by Julien Perry
Okay, pretty much all tater tots are beautiful, but this recipe is courtesy of chef Tom Black who is getting ready to launch Restaurant Bea in Madrona with his business partner Kate Perry. The two will focus on creating a menu composed of delicious comfort foods inspired by Black's midwestern roots complemented by the foods he loves to order when he goes out to eat: sweetbreads, lamb kidneys, and other offal things.

The restaurant itself will also be comfortable. "There are people in the industry who kind of look down on diners or look down on each other," says Perry, "and there's really no reason for that negativity. I think that just takes the fun out of it and shows that maybe you're not focusing on yourself." Black agrees, "I like warm inviting service that's not pretentious; it's friendly and the server takes their job as seriously as the kitchen takes their job. And I like chef-driven restaurants where the chef has gotten that shot based on their hard work and experiences up to that point in their career."

Black also likes tots.

"My French culinary instructors would call these a croquette of sorts," says Black. "I like the play on comfort food, and they're also a tribute of sorts to the thousands of Ore-Ida Tater Tots that made the ultimate sacrifice during my early years of research and development."

No offense to the Oregon-Idaho hybrid, but Washington represents all over these tots.

Bea Tots


3 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes


1 ½ oz white truffle oil

White pepper

6 eggs

3 c all-purpose flour

2 qts Panko (Japanese bread crumbs), finely ground

1 gal vegetable oil

Tools needed

Large pot

Potato ricer or food mill

Pastry bag

Metal pastry tip, ½-inch round

Sheet tray

Parchment paper

Deep pan for frying


Peel and medium-dice potatoes into uniform pieces. Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Place potatoes into a large pot and cover with cold water. Add a large pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and cook on high heat until tender when pierced with a paring knife. Strain and lay out onto a sheet tray and place into the oven for approximately 3-5 minutes to dry them.

Push potatoes through a potato ricer or food mill to create very fine potato shreds. Drizzle in truffle oil to taste. Add additional salt and white pepper to taste. The potato mixture should have a smooth texture and a subtle truffle flavor. Place into a piping bag fit with a ½-inch tip. Line a sheet tray that will fit in your freezer with parchment paper. Pipe out long, even bars of the mixture onto the sheet tray until full. Freeze until hard.

Whisk eggs to make an egg wash and place in a bowl for dipping. Place flour and Panko in two separate bowls, also for dipping.

Cut potato bars into one-inch pieces. Toss each piece in flour, then in egg wash, and then in Panko. Place pieces back on the parchment-lined sheet tray and refreeze until the pieces are hard enough to handle without falling apart, approximately one hour.

Heat one gallon of vegetable oil in pan until the temperature reaches 375-degrees. Gently fry the potato pieces until golden brown and place onto paper towels to absorb any extra oil. Serve warm.

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