Once again, I got the house to myself and had to make lunch, so I decided to try my hand at croquettes having never made or eaten one before. I cook with potatoes almost every time I’m left alone in the house (actually, now that I think about it, every time…) and I bought a potato cookbook at the last bookfair I went to. The book, Potato: A definitive guide to potatoes and potato cooking, happens to be the same book as the one I picked up at a library a week earlier, something I only realised after I got home that evening.
Croquettes are very simple to make – they are basically mashed potato covered in breadcrumbs or some other dry topping. Here’s my own twist on the recipe, with some added narration.
First step is to make mashed potato. I was only planning to cook for myself, so I only peeled one potato. I kept the peelings to make crisps later, but the potato was slightly green under the skin, so out went those peelings. Was feeling gypped, so I peeled another potato that was nicer and not-green and placed the peelings aside.
They were both large potatoes, so there was going to be much more than one person’s serving. Placed them into a pot, filled with water to the depth of the cut potatoes and boiled for about twenty minutes.
Instead of using milk for making the mashed potato as you usually would, use egg yolks. Egg yolks are used instead of milk to give a firmer mash, so the croquettes don’t fall apart. I used two, a lick of olive oil (about two teaspoons?) and some salt and mashed, then mixed in a handful of grated cheese. You can add pretty much anything to the mashed potato, like herbs, spices, or whatever floats your boat and doesn’t require additional cooking.
Then shape blobs into the cylindrical things (no longer than your palm, I would suggest) with the aid of some flour, and coat in beaten egg. Then coat in some dry topping – I used breadcrumbs. While I was getting the bag of crumbs out of my pantry cupboard, I saw it had that gross webby stuff, a dead moth and a hopefully-dead larva in it. So I took two slices of fresh bread, turned on the oven and popped them in, which still had some remaining heat from when I baked the peeling-crisps (and burnt them, oops). About ten minutes in, only after the top side of the bread was done, I remembered that we had a toaster.
Then I had to crumb the bread, and that was my second boo-boo. I used my hands to crush ’em, when it would have been less messy, less painful and more efficient to use a plastic bag and a cup. But there I was, mauling toast with my hands. I still have the marks on my hands – toast is hard and sharp, the buggers.
I think croquettes are supposed to be deep-fried, but the cookbook lists baking and pan-frying as well, so being a health-conscious (ha!) person I went for the pan-frying. (Actually, I used a wok. Close enough.) Fried them over medium heat, and I had to wash the wok between frying as some of the crumbs are shed and create this burnt sediment in the oil. I made an even seven croquettes, but I ate the ugliest one to see what it tasted like and so I wouldn’t have to take a photo of it.
And then I fried the leftover beaten egg and ate it. In case anyone cares.