Here is a typical scene from my kitchen on any given night: I’m peeling potatoes and frankly in a hurry to tend to other, more rewarding parts of the cooking. So I ask whoever is next to me, my husband, the children, or even a guest, “Don’t you think that’s enough potatoes?” The answer is almost always the same: silence, then a hesitant, “Well, I think we could do with a few more.” Because I have a deep- seated fear of cooking too little food, I always listen and then we end up with a small mountain of mashed potatoes that we simply can’t finish. The good thing is that they are easily reinvented the following day, such as in these little croquettes. Frying them in oil gives them a thin crisp exterior, and the Bayonne ham adds delicious flavor. These croquettes go equally well with cold beer or yesterday’s wine, whatever that happened to be.
- 1 pound / 450 g russet potatoes
- 1 cup / 90 g grated cheese, such as gruyère or comté
- 2 tablespoons / 30 g unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon crème fraîche
- ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 6 slices bayonne ham or prosciutto, chopped
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup / 60 g all-purpose flour
- ½ cup / 75 g panko or unseasoned dried bread crumbs
- ¼ cup / 60 ml vegetable oil
- fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)
- Peel the potatoes and cut them into ½-inch / 1.3 cm cubes. Put them in a saucepan, cover with salted water, and boil over medium-high heat until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well and then mash with a potato masher. Add the cheese, butter, crème fraîche, nutmeg, and ham.
- In a small bowl, beat the egg. Put the flour in a second bowl and the bread crumbs in a third. Shape the potato mixture into small balls, each about the size of a walnut (you should get 10 to 12). Dust with flour, dip in the egg to coat, and then roll in the bread crumbs.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over high heat. You can test if it’s ready by throwing in a small piece of bread; if the bread turns golden in a few seconds the oil is ready. Fry the croquettes on both sides until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Drain on paper towels.
- Season the hot croquettes with salt and pepper and sprinkle with parsley, if you like, before serving.
Excerpted from French Country Cooking by Mimi Thorisson. Copyright © 2016. Excerpted by permission of Appetite by Random House, a division of Random House of Canada Ltd. a Penguin Random House company. All rights reserved.