When you see the same thing over and over again it can be redundant and tiresome until the point when repetition makes you look at the same thing with a different view point. I have seen more than my share of tater tots this summer. Tater tots are fine. They are crispy on the outside and warm and steamy on the inside. They are the Pringles of the frozen baked potato products.
Until today. I have been struggling with serving pork belly. Perhaps it is our audience, perhaps it is just that I wanted to streamline how it gets from plate to mouth, perhaps it just all this exposure to tater tots. Whatever the spark, the resulting inspiration was pork belly tater tots. We punched out little tots of braised pork belly and then coated them with potato flakes. While traditionally tater tots are baked, we opted to fry ours. The result was a beautifully crispy potato exterior with a molten fatty and meaty interior full of porcine and spiced flavors, the result of several days in brine and a nice long and slow braise.
We played around with plating the pork belly tater tots with quince-green olive sauce, dandelion greens and shave purple peppers. The components come together, though this is not the end for these tots. And furthermore, does pork belly need to be the filling for the tots? Lobster or braised short ribs would be equally delightful surrounded with potato flakes and served in the tot form. However, the key is the tot. The break though was the pork belly as the tot. The rest, well that will be an evolution.