Potato Croquettes (Crocchette di Patate)

 

I was driving around Sydney a few weeks ago, distractedly listening to the local Italian radio station, when a very animated conversation caught my attention.

The radio host and an elderly Southern Italian lady on the phone were engaged in a feisty discussion about one of everybody’s favorite Italian side dish, crocchette di palate, potato croquettes.

The dear lady truly sounded in despair over the failure of the recipe given to her by her neighbor’s sister-in-law: the croquettes broke down in the frying pan and her so did her spirit.

After a detailed sequence of questions, the host, a self-proclaimed food expert, gave his verdict:

the neighbor’s sister-in-law never mentioned resting the uncooked, shaped croquettes in the fridge before frying them. That apparently, is the secret to a perfectly crunchy morsel that holds its shape in the hot oil.

The lady’s spirit was quickly resorted and new confidence was instilled into her heart. And into mine, for that matter. I had never attempted to make croquettes, but now that, yet another secret of Italian home-cooking had been bestowed upon me, I could not give it a miss.

Ingredients, makes 12-16 croquettes

2 large red potatoes

4-5 tablespoons of plain flour

1 tablespoon or potato starch (or corn flour)

2 eggs (one for potato mix, one for the batter)

salt, to taste

1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

a little freshly ground black pepper

2 spring onions , finely chopped

1 handful of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

1 small handful of chives, finely chopped

2 cups of breadcrumbs (home-made or  store-bought panko crumbs)

How to

Wash the potatoes, place them in a  pot of cold water, skin on and simmer for 30 minutes or until cooked through.

Drain the water, allow for the potatoes to cool for 5 minutes then peel them.

Mash the potatoes with a masher or using a potato ricer.

Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg, add the egg and the herbs.

Add the flour and potato starch (or corn flour) and mix it through to obtain a firm yet pliable dough. Depending on the size of your potatoes you may need less flour or add a little more if the dough is too sticky.

Place the crumbs onto a plate.

Crack the egg into a bowl and whisk it with a fork.

Using wet hands, shape the dough into little sausages the size of your thumb (or bigger if you so prefer), dip them into the egg and the coat them with the crumbs. Set aside onto a plate and refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Heat up the oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan. Test the oil by dropping in a cube of bread. If it sizzles at the sides and turns golden in 15 seconds, the oil is ready to go.

Drop in the croquettes, 4 0r 5 at a time and deep fry on both sides for 2-3 minutes or until golden.

Drain on kitchen paper, sprinkle with salt flakes and eat while still hot.

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19 thoughts on “Potato Croquettes (Crocchette di Patate)

  1. Hi Silvia – looks yummy! If I could just add to that 2 little tricks based on my experience with making traditional Indian potato croquettes (tikki).
    1. The concept is to ensure that the croquettes do not have air spaces in them – while you are forming them. So that way, even without mashing your potatoes into a dough, you can ensure a chunky texture and even add on yummy bits like onions or peppercorns.
    2.Use disposable gloves – makes it easier to form the croquettes because the potatoes do not stick to your hands or get too wet with the water (and it preserves your prefect manicure!)

  2. When I read your description of you driving in your car listening to a despondent Italian lady about her Potato Croquettes and the host solving the issue – an Italian movie unfolded before my eyes… I can picture all the characters and their facial expressions – Bravo… I was lost in the moment. xxx

  3. Silvia…these just looks so great in so many ways! I luv the crunch on the outside, the creaminess and tater taste on the inside, the chives and hint of nutmeg…I’m dipping mine in ketchup!! xo Ally

  4. Silvia, I will inbox you. Looks lovely and I am sure delicious. You must try my version. My mother made this dish with left over mashed potatoes. Nothing would ever go to waste at my house. A starchy potato is key to help it hold together. Then a little mozzarella in the center for added texture and that little suprise in the middle. Kids love it! I must try it your way~ Auguri! Barbara Giacometti

      • they are fine but stayed without power for 12 days. It was so unusual as it never happened .before. They were able to move to my brothers in Long Island who was strangly with power. Heading there for Christmas , you? They are not doing well Health wise . They have a big house they don’t need etc. but all in all at least she is still cooking! cheers! Barbara

  5. my favorites Silvia! Yes, resting in the refrigerator is the secret to any croquette, arancini, etc. Red potatoes are tricky and I like to place my potatoes in the oven instead of boiling them first too. It keeps the croquette Nice and firm. And helps to hold them together. These look fabulous! ( reds have a lower starch content).
    Get the wine, I’ll be right over!

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