We live downwind from a tater tot factory. I kid you not, we smell them and other fried potato products so much that we rarely eat them. A good tater tot hotdish craving will force me to buy them but not often. When I bought a Panini press I knew I’d need a bag of tater tots because I wanted to iron them into a flat shape for breakfast.
That isn’t as insane as it sounds. I imagined the tater tots fried into a waffle shape, with a runny fried egg dripping its eggy goodness all over them. Sprinkled with some diced ham and shredded cheese, it was a breakfast quickie!
I’ll make you groan by saying I was still in Spam mode so cubed Spam became my sprinkled meat of choice. I had ham in the fridge, I just wanted Spam. You could adjust the meat to your preference. Even some crumbled fried breakfast sausage or crispy bacon would be great on this “tot waffle”.
I heated my Panini press on the “Sear” setting which meant the hottest setting. Since tater tots are mostly cooked, I just wanted to thaw them and crispy the outsides fast without cooking them long enough to get mooshy (yes, again with that classic culinary term from my kitchen).
When the press was heated I sprayed a little oil on the bottom plate and laid out my tater tots. When I looked at actual recipes online they laid them out in neat little patterns. I went rogue and laid them out randomly in a circular shape with no rhyme or reason to their placement. We’ll call it the Picasso placement plan.
I lowered the top griddle and pressed it down, setting it on top of the tots. I gave them a few minutes to scream (sizzle) and flatten as they thawed, then pressed them down further to meld my Picasso potatoes together in a firm piece. I peeked at them and they were doing great.
I heated my flat skillet and sautéed my diced Spam a little until the cubes began to brown. I didn’t need to add oil, it provided its own fat. It also provided its own salt. Spam is fairly salty so I didn’t use any salt on the rest of the ingredients in my breakfast to counteract that abundance.
I pushed the Spam aside and cracked two eggs onto the skillet. I sprinkled pepper on the eggs and let them fry on low.
Back at the Panini press, I used a spatula to turn the tot waffle 90 degrees so the ridge marks would go the other direction, and look more like a real waffle. I pressed the lid down again and let it cook a couple more minutes.
My eggs were ready to carefully flip; I’m an over easy person. You could make your eggs any way you like. I like the yolks running and soaking into everything else.
I plated my tot waffle, served the Spam on top, laid the eggs on top and sprinkled it all with shredded sharp cheddar. I cut the eggs so that they drizzled yolk all over and dug into my huge breakfast.
I loved the way the tot waffles were crispy on the outside and covered with egg yolk they were super good. The salty goodness of the Spam was a nice change from our usual breakfast meats. Cheese tied it all together and made it a breakfast treat. For a person who doesn’t usually eat breakfast, it was a great way to start my weekend. It was all pretty quick, and a fast cleanup afterwards. I found another really good reason why it was smart to buy this Panini press!
Tot Waffle Panini
20 tater tots
1” of Spam; diced
¼ cup sharp cheddar; shredded
Pepper to taste
Preheat Panini press to highest setting. When preheated, lay out tater tots in a round shape, close together. Put top down and let cook for 3 or 4 minutes.
Press lid down with more pressure, flattening the now thawed tater tots. Cook for several more minutes until lightly browned. Using a spatual, turn the waffle 90 degrees so that the marks will be crosswise. Cook 3 or 4 more minutes.
Heat a flat skillet or griddle and sauté the diced Spam until it begins to brown. Push it to the side and fry two eggs, over easy, or however you prefer your eggs.
Remove tot waffle to a plate and layer with Spam, then eggs, then sprinkle the cheese over the top. Eat hot!