Loaded Idaho® Potato Bites

Loaded Idaho® Potato Bites
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup vegetable oil, for frying
  2. 1½ cups panko Japanese breadcrumbs
  3. 1 large egg
  4. 2½ cups prepared Idaho® mashed potatoes kept at room temperature
  5. 3 slices of bacon cooked crisp and broken into pieces
  6. 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  7. 3 tablespoons parmesan, grated
  8. 2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
  9. ½ tablespoon garlic powder
  10. ¼ teaspoon Hungarian smoked paprika
  11. sea salt and ground pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, add the oil.
  2. While it is heating, lightly beat the egg in a shallow bowl.
  3. In another shallow bowl, add the panko breadcrumbs.
  4. In a third but larger bowl, combine the prepared mashed potatoes, cooked bacon pieces, cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, garlic, chives, paprika, salt and pepper.
  5. Using your hands mix the ingredients thoroughly and roll the mixture into 1-inch balls.
  6. Dip each ball into the egg mixture, get rid of any excess, dredge the ball in the panko breadcrumbs, and let the ball sit for a few minutes before adding to the oil.
  7. Gently place the ball to the hot oil with a slotted spoon. Plan to work in batches. Cook until golden and crispy all over, about 3 minutes.
  8. Transfer the ball using the slotted spoon bites paper towel-lined covered wire rack to drain. Serve immediately.
Notes
Tips
  1. To make quick and easy Idaho® mashed potatoes, peel and cube 3 pounds of Idaho® potatoes. Add them to a large pot of salted boiling salted water. Simmer uncovered for 12 minutes, or until potatoes are tender by fork. Drain. Return to the pot. Add 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter and 3/4 cup of whole milk. Using a hand held mixer, break the potatoes up by using the low speed, blending until creamy but not runny. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
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