Trend in nostalgic nosh brings new flavor to fine dining

(BPT) – Seasoned tots with your filet mignon? Fries with parmesan cheese and truffle oil? But of course. Comfort foods with sophisticated flair are plated in abundance at the finest restaurants around the country, as chefs reinvent potato sides like fries and tots with new dips, toppings and custom spice blends. Excitement continues to build as these nostalgic dishes from the kiddie table can now be found making their way to grown-ups’ plates.

In fact, Bon Appetit touted the “Return of the Tot” earlier this year and Business Insider, recently named fries the new “it” menu item for upscale New York City restaurants in 2013.

Lucky for potato lovers, recreating restaurant-quality fries and tots at home can be as easy as preheating your oven, no culinary degree needed. Frozen food companies like Alexia offer a wide variety of premium fries and other potato sides that serve as the perfect starting point and are available at grocery retailers nationwide. Using all-natural, American-grown potatoes, Alexia’s premium fry and puff varieties like Spicy Sweet Potato Fries or Seasoned Potato Puffs – a fresh take on the basic tot – give at-home cooks an easy way to recreate a popular restaurant trend right in their own kitchen.

“With all of our premium oven-baked puff and fry varieties, we wanted to give consumers a quality side dish to make an everyday meal extraordinary,” says Mike Smith, vice president and general manager of Alexia Foods. “We use the highest quality ingredients and latest flavor innovations to ensure we stay ahead of trends and give food lovers premium side dishes to complete their homemade meals.”

For a gourmet twist on a classic dinner menu, try pairing an oven-roasted chicken with a grown-up tot seasoned with a delicious blend of roasted garlic, cracked black pepper, sour cream, and chives.

Oven-roasted chicken with warm lettuce and spring peas

Makes four servings

Serve with Alexia Crispy Seasoned Potato Puffs


Chicken ingredients:

1 3 – 4 pound chicken, rinsed and patted dry

Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

1 lemon, halved

1 head garlic, halved crosswise

1/2 bunch fresh thyme

4-6 bay leaves

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Warm lettuce and spring peas ingredients:

1 cup dry white wine

1/4 red onion, finely chopped

1 bay leaf

6 black peppercorns

4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1 cup spring peas (frozen peas can be substituted)

1 large head butter lettuce, leaves separated


To prepare the chicken, preheat the oven to 350 F. Season the chicken cavity with plenty of salt and pepper; stuff the lemon halves, garlic, thyme and bay leaves inside. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Drizzle the skin with olive oil and rub all over; season with plenty of salt and pepper. Place the chicken breast-side up in a roasting pan; roast for 1 hour, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thigh registers 165 F. Let the chicken rest 15 minutes before carving.

While the chicken is roasting, prepare the lettuce and peas. Combine the wine, red onion, bay leaf, peppercorns and a pinch of salt in a saucepan; simmer over medium heat until the mixture is syrupy and just coats the bottom of the pan. Whisk in the butter cubes, a few at a time, to thicken the sauce and give it a shine. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm. (Remove the peppercorns and bay leaf before serving.)

Place the peas in a small pot of salted boiling water until heated through; drain. Toss the peas, lettuce and warm butter sauce in a bowl until the lettuce wilts slightly.

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