Thursday, August 2, 2007

Overcoming Fryer-phobia: Potato Croquettes

I remember making these with Andrew in my kitchen with no particular knowledge of the delicate relationship between oil + heat. Unfortunately that lack of education also meant a lack of knowledge about the smoke point of extra virgin olive oil. We didn't set off the smoke alarm, but it was a close one. I think that may have been the last time I followed a recipe to the... no, wait, I messed around with a few of the ingredients (adding spices, leaving out cheese)... but I did follow the recipe on the type of oil to use and the frying method... so boo on David Rocco's EVOO fetish (yes, I used a Rachael Ray term, and yes, I like her. So be it).

After the smoke clouds cleared from the first charcoal brick, we tried again and were rewarded this time with little golden logs of gooey, cheesy-filled decadence. The two main tricks are to a) really make sure your breadcrumbs are seasoned well, and b) WATCH THE OIL!! Never leave it unattended. I will not be responsible for house fires, so you have been warned!

Andrew and his dad have recently asked for these to be made again, and I definitely intend to indulge them! I love the looks on people's faces when they bite into something truly special that they enjoy.

Here's what we used as a recipe, the original is available here. The photo is also from there, in case you were wondering, though ours looked fairly close! The first thing I thought of when I stumbled onto this recipe again in my files was that it sounded kind of like a random, inside-out version of Poutine. I guess with a little authentic-ish gravy (St. Hubert is THE BEST!), it would be! Either way, enjoy a little Italian treat made by a proudly Canadian chick!!!

Potato Croquettes
1 1/3 lb. potatoes, peeled
2 eggs
1 mozzarella ball, cut into thin strips
1 cup dry seasoned breadcrumbs (garlic, oregano and cayenne)
Salt and pepper
oil for frying (measure ½ olive, ½ vegetable)
  1. Boil potatoes until fork tender (about 15-20 minutes) and let cool for 20 minutes. In a large bowl, mash potatoes.
  2. Add salt, pepper and one egg and mix well until all the ingredients are evenly distributed.
  3. Create logs of potato that are around 1 1/2 inches thick by 3 inches long.
  4. Create an indentation in the middle of the log and add a slice of mozzarella. Close up the logs and make sure mozzarella is fully covered.
  5. Dip potato logs in a separately beaten egg and cover with breadcrumbs.
  6. Fry in hot oil until the potato croquettes are crispy and golden brown. Let cool slightly on a paper towel and serve warm

As an after, I found this cute poem here about the fear of frying:

Fear of Frying

The story of my life is sad,
But I'll tell you, if you like.
I was born dirt poor in the richest soil
in a town called Spudsville Pike.

One day I got snatched away from my home
and then thrown in the back of a truck.
My eyes could see life on the road was not easy,
so I smiled and wished myself luck.

I knew that I'd be a success in the world,
no matter what trials lay ahead.
I was told that the world would butter me up
But boy, what a line I'd been fed!

I knew life had taken a turn for the worst
when I first saw those golden arches.
Now my hope for the future is fried
just because I am one of your favorite starches!

(C) 1998, Arden Davidson