Pom Pom Potatoes
Every now and then, some truly delightful trend lights up TikTok like a handful of sparklers — and our test kitchen has to jump on the bandwagon. Hello, pom pom potatoes! First of all, what is cuter than a mini French fry pom pom? Nothing. Second: yum.
Cutting the little pom poms might be the trickiest part of the recipe, and the test kitchen has a couple pro tips for you: Trim both ends of the potato and then slice it in half — this will help it stand up so you can cut the tassels. We put chopsticks on either side of the potato, perpendicular to the knife, to make sure we don’t cut all the way through the bottom. #foodstyling!
Oh, what the hot oil does to them! The tops are like ultra crispy mini fries, but the bottoms have more in common with a tater tot. They’re creamy and delicious.
All that texture aside, the thing that really sells these pom pom potatoes is flavor: we coat them in a blend that includes cumin, onion powder, and cayenne pepper. They’re savory in a way that hits you right in the salivary glands — so mouthwateringly tasty, we found ourselves inhaling whole pom poms. Slow down, we told ourselves, it’s more fun to eat them one fry at a time. (They’re like the string cheese of potatoes.)
P.S. They’re super good dunked in ketchup or a classic burger sauce. Three cheers for pom pom potatoes!
Pom Pom Potatoes
Slice off the ends of the potatoes so they can stand upright. Place one potato flat-side down on a cutting board, and place 2 chopsticks flush against the sides of the potato. (This will act as a guide, allowing you to slice close to the bottom of the potato, but not all the way through). Place your knife perpendicular to the chopsticks and cut ⅛”-thick slices across the potato. Turn the potato 90º and cut ⅛”-slices through the potato, creating a grid pattern.
Repeat until all of the potatoes have been cut. Place cut potatoes in a bath of cold water to prevent oxidation.
Bring a medium pot of water to a gentle boil over high heat. Add the potatoes, and blanch them for 3 minutes or until the potatoes feel slightly tender but not fully cooked. You should be able to pierce with a fork but not all the way through.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to a cooling rack to allow them to cool and dry, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, and cayenne pepper. Whisk together until incorporated.
Place 2 potatoes in the seasoned flour and toss to coat. Sprinkle the flour in the cracks of the potatoes to coat them completely. Continue until all the potatoes have been coated in flour.
In a large, heavy bottomed pot with high sides, heat the oil to 350° over medium heat. Note: throughout the frying, try to keep the oil at a steady 350° by using a candy thermometer and adjusting the heat as needed.
Gently place 2 or 3 of the floured potatoes in the hot oil to prevent splashing. Fry the potatoes for 4 to 5 minutes, turning occasionally or until golden brown and crispy.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried potatoes to a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil.
Repeat until all of the potatoes have been fried. Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauces.