I don't think I have ever had croquettes in the US.
In the area of Germany where I come from, croquettes are a (sit-down) restaurant side dish that has equal status to french fries. As the images below show, Germans eat croquettes with a gravy sauce. (Note that we do the same thing with french fries. Also note that the German gravy is not as thick as the gravy I am used to in the American south.)
|Picture from http://www.bavariankitchen.com/sides/kroketten.aspx|
Different versions of croquettes are available in countries all over the world either as a delicacy or as a street food. Depending on the country, a croquette may contain mashed potatoes, ground meats, fish, cheese or other vegetables. The food is shaped into a cylinder or a small patty, rolled in breadcrumbs and deep fried.
In Germany (at least in my experience), croquettes are always made from mashed potatoes that are shaped into thumb-size cylinders, breaded and deep fried. Nothing else is added to the potato mass. I don't ever remember my mother making croquettes from scratch. They were something that you would order, when you went to a restaurant. Alternatively, they could be purchased fully formed in the freezer aisle the way french fries or tater tots are. Unlike tater tots, they were considered a special food in our house - something you would eat for a special dinner like a birthday or a wedding. Come to think of it, the same thing was true for french fries eaten at home. It was sort-of a big deal and didn't happen very often.
3 tbsp flour
1 cup bread crumbs
salt and nutmeg to taste
vegetable oil for frying
- Cook the potatoes whole. It is important that the potatoes don't become mushy. Cooking the potatoes whole (and selecting the right type of potato will help with that.) It's also possible to cook the potatoes a day in advance and give them some time in the fridge to dry and firm up over night. That's what I did since I would have limited time to make dinner after work.
- Peel the potatoes and push through a potato ricer rather than a potato masher to make sure that the potato mass is fluffy. If you plan on processing them the same day, spread them out on a baking sheet to allow some of the moisture to escape.
- Add 3 egg yolks, salt and nutmeg to the potato mass and work everything into a dough,
- Shape the potato dough into rolls that about as thick as a finger and cut the rolls in pieces that are about 1-1.5 inches long.
- Prepare two bowls, one for beaten egg white and another one for breadcrumbs. Roll each croquette first in egg white, then in bread crumbs making sure that they are covered all the way around.
- Heat a deep fryer to 350F. Deep fry croquettes a few at a time taking care not to overcrowd them. Take out and allow fat to drain on a paper towel after they are golden brown.