Potatoes are a staple food for many households. These versatile vegetables are packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals. They come in multiple shapes, sizes, colors, and textures and can add a splash of color to any dinner plate. Unfortunately, most people don’t explore the many culinary offerings of the potato.
Potatoes were grown, eaten, and worshiped by the ancient inhabitants of America centuries before any Europeans arrived. This mighty vegetable has saved societies from hunger, been used for medicinal purposes, and been the center of folklore from around the world. As a child, I remember getting a wart on my finger. I didn’t think much of it and would play day after day unfazed by it. One day I happened to be over to my great grandmothers home and she saw it. Immediately, she grabbed a potato, cut it in half and rub it all over the wart. We than proceeded to the back yard and buried it. The superstitious folklore states that when the potato rots in the ground, your wart will disappear. Well, of course it didn’t work and my great grandmother was non the wiser because I didn’t tell her.
Superstitions and myths are plentiful with the potato but who cares when it is such a tasty morsel whipped up with cream and butter. Throughout the centuries, thousands of dishes have been created using the potato and are as varied as the cultures who created them. One potato dish I love is a deep-fried croquette. Every culture on earth has a version of this simple dish.
To make my version of a potato croquette, simple peel, cook and mash up some potatoes. I personally like to use the Klondike family brand of potatoes which can be found in most grocery stores under the Green Giant label. These potatoes are known for their thin skins and creamy, buttery like textures. Because of the thin skins, you don’t have to peel them and it saves a lot of time. Whichever brand of potatoes you choose to use, boil them until they are fork tender than drain and mash them. While the potatoes are boiling, cook and drain some hamburger and let it cool. Combine the cooled mashed potatoes and cooked hamburger and add some vegetables. I like to use peas and carrots but you can use your favorite combination of vegetables too. Mix your favorite cooked vegetables into the potato mixture being careful not to mash the cooked vegetables. If you have a favorite herb blend, add it too along with some salt and pepper. Form the newly created potato mixture into patties or balls until you use it up the potato mixture.
Once the potato patties are formed, simply create your dredging dishes. Use large open faced dishes for easy dredging. Create one dish with flour, another large bowl with some whipped eggs and one last dredging dish for bread crumbs. I like to use a Japanese style bread crumb called Panko. This style of bread crumb is coarser and has a larger crumbs.
To dredge, simply coat the potato patty with flour and then dip it in the eggs, and finally coat with the bread crumbs. While working on creating the potato patties and dredging them, heat some vegetable oil up to about 350 degree’s for deep frying. When the oil has reached the appropriate temperature, add the prepared croquettes to the hot oil and cook them until they’re golden brown. Drain the cooked croquettes on some paper towels and serve them with your favorite condiments.
Be creative in making your potato croquettes. If you would rather use another type of meat than mix it in with the potatoes. You could even omit the meat and add some more vegetables or even cooked beans. For a recipe of my potato croquettes, simply go to my website www.chefbryanonline.com.