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Every tot loves to take a dip

There are options other than ketchup

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012 3:38 p.m. CDT

(MCT) — Whether you make the from-scratch potato tots at left, or rely on tried-and-true Tator Tot originals, ketchup is often the condiment of choice. Want something more? How about a cheesy dip? Or a spicy chipotle mayonnaise?

CLASSIC ROOTS

Before you dismiss Tater Tots and its ilk as another example of mid-20th century American food tinkering, consider where tots may actually come from. Asked in an email if there was a classic culinary antecedent for tots, the French-born and trained Jacques Pepin replied quickly in the affirmative.

“Certainly potato croquettes (riced cooked potato and egg yolk shaped like corks, balls or disks, breaded and fried) or potato duchesse (the same but no breading and baked) are the ancestors,” wrote Pepin. He pointed curious cooks to “The “Fannie Farmer Cookbook” and other classics for recipes.

CHILE CON QUESO

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes Makes: 2 cups

In “The Texas Cowboy Cookbook,” Rob Walsh recommends serving this dip with tortilla chips or as a topping for tacos, chalupas or Frito pie. Why not a dunkable for potato tots, too?

Walsh said the dish can be made in a double boiler or microwave but he also recommends a slow cooker. “You can leave it there for hours, ladling small amounts into serving bowls while the rest stays warm,” he writes. Walsh’s recipe calls for Velveeta cheese and a can of Rotel tomatoes, a brand of canned tomatoes with green chiles.

Melt 1 pound processed cheese (cut into 1-inch cubes) in a slow cooker or double boiler. Stir in 1 can (10 ounces) tomatoes with green chiles. Serve warm.

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Nutrition information per tablespoon: 56 calories, 5 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 13 mg cholesterol, 1 g carbohydrates, 3 g protein, 186 mg sodium, 0 g fiber

Chipotle Ailoi

Prep: 10 minutes

Makes: About 2 cups

At The Knick restaurant in Milwaukee, the housemade potato tots are paired with a chipotle aioli. The owner is keeping mum on his recipe, so try this one from “The Oldways Table,” by chef Paul O’Connell of Chez Henri in Cambridge, Mass. The original can calls for 1 small can (about 7 ounces) chipotle chilies. We found using just 2 chilies was plenty spicy. Add more as you like.

1 egg

2 egg yolks

2 crushed cloves garlic

1 tablespoon mustard

1/4cup lemon juice

1/2 cup each: extra-virgin olive oil, canola oil

1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped

2 chipotle chilies, or more to taste

1 red onion, finely chopped

Combine the egg, egg yolks, garlic, mustard and lemon juice in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth. With the machine still running, add the olive oil and canola oil in a slow stream; blend until the mixture emulsifies to the consistency of mayonnaise. Add the cilantro and chilies; blend until smooth. Stir in the red onion; serve.

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Nutrition information per tablespoon: 70 calories, 7 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 17 mg cholesterol, 1 g carbohydrates, 1 g protein, 17 mg sodium, 0 g fiber

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