NEED FIRST-CLASS FINGER-FOOD FOR YOUR NEXT COCKTAIL PARTY? Consider Potato Croquettes. Everybody loves these little morsels that are oh-so-crunchy on the outside, and smooth and creamy on the inside. I make them this way:Start with four cups of plain, unbuttered mashed potatoes. You can make your own from fresh, peeled potatoes or — and please don’t shoot me for suggesting this – from boxed, “instant” potato flakes. Let the potatoes cool to room-temperature before proceeding.
You can add other flavorings, too, if you wish. Like Parmesan cheese? Add it. Want a little spice in your life? Add a pinch of cayenne pepper. Believe me, this recipe invites all kinds of experimentation.
In other words, it’s a recipe you can make entirely your own.
A note about breadcrumbs: I’ve experimented with different types, and find I really, really love “Panko.” Panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs) delivers the mightiest crunch. But if you are on a gluten-free diet, use whatever wheat-free crumbs you like.
Oh. Just make sure the crumbs are dried. I tried making croquettes with fresh bread crumbs, and had to throw the whole batch out.
Please learn from my mistakes.
And roll it between your palms to form a fat cylinder, roughly 1 inch wide by 1 1/2- to 2-inches long. If your cylinder is too thin, it will disintegrate during the coating-process. Trust me on this one.
Don’t have a candy thermometer? Get one. It will take all the guess-work out of your deep-frying adventures.
And speaking of Lincoln…have you seen the new film with Daniel Day Lewis and Sally Field?
It is a well-known fact that Abraham and Mary Todd-Lincoln loved Potato Croquettes, and requested them at every cocktail party they attended.
Okay. I just made that up.
In the comments field below, let me know if you’ve tried (or hope to try) these crisp and creamy appetizers. I don’t think they require a dipping sauce, but if you want one, simply arrange the croquettes around a small bowl of Dijon mustard.
And here’s a copy-and-paste version of the above recipe:
Kevin Lee Jacobs, A Garden for the House (dot) com.
Ingredients for about 12 appetizers
4 cups un-buttered mashed potatoes, made from peeled potatoes* or “instant” potato flakes
1 egg yolk, beaten
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional flavorings: one 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese; a pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (or a gluten-free substitute)
1 whole egg, beaten with 1 Tablespoon water
1 cup dried bread crumbs (can use gluten-free crumbs)
*2 pounds of potatoes will give you approximately 4 cups of mashed potatoes
Special equipment – 3 pie plates; a heavy-bottomed sauce pan that will hold at least 1 quart; a candy thermometer; a sheet of waxed paper
1. The mashed potatoes – Add the beaten egg yolk and minced parsley to the mashed potatoes; mix well. Stir in other flavorings, too, if you are using them.
2. Set up an “assembly-line” - Line up 3 pie plates on your work-surface. Pour the flour into the first plate, the egg and water mixture into the second plate, and the breadcrumbs into the third plate.
3. Forming the croquettes – Take a fist-full of the mashed potato mixture, and roll it between your palms to create a fat cylinder, approximately 1 inch wide by 1 1/2- to 2-inches long.
4. Coating the croquettes – Roll each cylinder first in the flour, then the egg mixture, and finally, the bread crumbs. Set each appetizer on a sheet of waxed paper.
5. Frying the croquettes – In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, pour the vegetable oil to a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil to 350 degrees F. (A candy thermometer is helpful here.)
Do a test – carefully slip one croquette into the hot oil, and let it cook until it becomes crisp and brown on all sides — about one minute. Remove with a slotted spatula, and let drain on several layers of paper towels. Fry the remaining croquettes 2 or 3 at a time, and drain these, too, on paper towels.
Serving – Croquettes are deliciously crisp and creamy as is. But if you want a dipping sauce, consider arranging the appetizers around a small bowl of Dijon mustard.
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