Almost every continent consumes Croquettes, which are little fried rounds or cylinders of meat, fish, and/or vegetables. There’s the Japanese dish called Korokke which is made of mashed potato that has been formed into oval patties, coated in panko breadcrumbs, and then fried before being drizzled with tonkatsu sauce; then there is the teardrop-shaped coxinha from Brazil, which is filled with delicious shredded chicken, and there are the croquetas from Spain, which are cooked with a rich bèchamel sauce and flecks of jamón, salt fish, or chicken.
Historically, Pommes Duchesse, which is seasoned potatoes topped with butter and egg yolks have been a key ingredient in making potato Croquettes, also known as Croquettes de Pommes de terre in French.
More recent croquette recipes stick fairly close to the original versions: Making mashed potatoes, adding spice and a binder, then breading them.
Making Potato Croquettes
Russet potatoes performed poorly in my initial test. I tried adding cream cheese, which made them dense, I also added sour cream, this just made them taste tangy, and various kinds of shredded cheese, all of which ruptured through the bread and burned. None of these attempts were successful.
I made a small amount of thickened bèchamel sauce using more butter and flour than usual and combined my potatoes into it, taking my cue Spain’s croqueta. That test, after being fried, was the closest to what I had in mind: luscious potato croquettes with creamy interiors.
By switching to Yukon Golds, which have a deeper flavor and a propensity for creaminess, the recipe was further improved. I prepare the mash by simply seasoning boiling and mashed Yukon Gold potatoes with melted butter, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper for a little spice, then I fold in the béchamel sauce.
Once the filling has been prepared, you can begin to shape. To make things easier, I recommend using little rounds rather than trying to force each spoonful into a tidy cylinder. After shaping, the rounds are chilled and firmed up in the refrigerator, this helps the croquettes maintain their shape while being breaded.
Finish by sprinkling with salt. Serve the dish while hot.
For the Béchamel:
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 120ml whole milk
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
For the Potato Croquettes:
- 455g Yukon Gold potatoes (2 to 3 medium-size potatoes), peeled and cut into small bits
- 2 quarts (1.9L) cold water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Cayenne pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup (65g) all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 2 cups (140g) breadcrumbs, finely ground in a food processor and transferred to a shallow bowl
- 2L vegetable oil, for frying
- For the bechamel: Boil the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until it begins to foam. To create a paste, add the flour and stir. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, whisking continually, for approximately a minute, or until the smell of raw flour is gone but the flour has not browned. Pour the milk in a thin, steady stream while whisking continuously until all of it has been added. Cook the béchamel, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes, or until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. To taste, add nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Transfer to a small bowl and wrap tightly in plastic. Place aside.
- For the potato croquettes: Combine the potatoes, water, and salt in a 3-quart saucepan. Over high heat, bring to a boil; then, turn down the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until potatoes are soft and barely budge when punctured with a paring knife. Returning the potatoes to the empty saucepan after draining them.
- Set the saucepan over low heat and shake it frequently for approximately a minute, or until the moisture from the potatoes has evaporated.
- Pass the potatoes through a ricer into a medium bowl, then set aside for 2 minutes to cool slightly. Stir in the butter and season to taste with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Stir in the béchamel for 1 minute, or until thoroughly combined.
- Using parchment paper, line a rimmed baking sheet. Scoop potato-béchamel mixture onto prepared baking sheet with a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop or measuring spoon; you should have 28 portions. Roll each portion into a ball between your palms (the dough should be soft but not sticky) and place on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours, covered loosely with plastic wrap.
- Place the bowls containing the flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs next to the prepared baking sheet. Working with one ball at a time, roll ball completely in flour, then transfer to beaten eggs and roll to coat on all sides, then place in breadcrumbs, turning to coat completely. Return to the prepared baking sheet and repeat the breading process with the remaining balls. Refrigerate the baking sheet containing the breaded croquettes.
- Preheat the oven to 200°F (95°C) with the rack in the middle position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels and place a wire rack inside. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it reaches 340°F (170°C). Working in batches of 7, carefully drop the breaded croquettes into the hot oil with a spider or slotted spoon. Fry until golden brown on all sides, about 90 minutes, turning pieces as they cook. Place croquettes on a prepared wire rack, season with salt, and keep warm in the oven.
- Return the oil to 340°F (170°C) and fry the remaining breaded croquettes in batches of seven. Serve the croquettes immediately in a serving bowl.