Let’s see, mashed potatoes, egg, and breadcrumbs. What could possibly be made from this assortment of goods that would be appropriate for President’s Day?
How about croquettes? Now you might be thinking, why the hell would the founding father’s eat croquettes, that’s quite a stretch Brian. Well, hear me out.
According to the Food Timeline, croquettes were “born” in 1706, or at least came into fashion or were recognized as good cooking, well before the founding of our nation. Furthermore, as much as some Americans would prefer to forget it, we were on pretty good terms with the French at the end of the Revolutionary War. Well, for a short period anyway. And croquettes are probably a French invention, thought Wikipedia refuses to give me a source on this.
At any rate, relations with the French aside, who can say no to breaded and fried mashed potatoes? No matter what your opinion on France, it seems like a pretty good fried celebration food that the founding fathers would have been able to enjoy in their time. And heck, had they despised the French they could call these Freedom Fried Frites, or maybe Liberty Logs.
The thought process behind choosing the croquette to make for the President’s day weekend party came to me at 11pm the night before when my friend told me he was making burgers. Naturally, something fried would work well with it, but I didn’t want to be ordinary. So after a bit of digging, that’s what I chose to do.
The making of the croquette couldn’t be simpler. First make mashed potatoes. I suppose you could used the boxed stuff, but I went from scratch.
Potatoes, which are then well scrubbed or washed and peeled.
I opted for the scrubbing and chunking method, as I don’t think the peels would have detracted too much from a fried preparation. Boil well in well salted water until the potatoes are easily pierced by a fork, about 40 minutes.
Mash well, optionally adding butter and milk, or perhaps chicken stock.
Here’s a picture of a Freedom Dog. I mean my friend’s dog. Just enjoy it.
If you’re like me, you can saute some onion and garlic to add to your mashed potatoes.
Some bacon never hurts either. Or cooked ham or other leftover meats.
Cut up into pieces, then add. I probably needed a bit more bacon.
Add in and mix well.
A bit of flour can add a bit of stiffness to a loose pile of mashed potatoes. Move the potatoes to the refrigerator to cool and gain a bit of integrity. Just like our founding fathers. That metaphor doesn’t work.
When you’re ready, with wet hands scoop up balls of mashed potatoes and roll into balls. Dip into egg wash and then into bread crumbs. It’s fairly easy to turn the potatoes into cylinders/twinkie shapes.
Oh yeah, this is a great place to add some spices to the bread crumbs, such as cayenne pepper and paprika. Maybe even curry powder.
Pan fry on all sides in a bit of vegetable oil, perhaps with a bit of bacon grease.
Make sure all sides are golden, carefully remove from heat, and serve! If for some reason your croquettes are bland, I imagine you could season the bread crumbs with more salt pretty easily.
And there you have it, croquettes!
- Mashed potatoes, well seasoned, well chilled (you could use my garlic mashed potatoes recipe)
- Bit of flour
- Egg wash
- Bread crumbs
- Vegetable oil
- Optional: additional spices to the bread crumbs, salt to season bread crumbs, garnishes such as cooked meats, cheese and/or bacon, bacon grease for frying.
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat.
- Use wet hands to shape mashed potatoes into balls.
- Dip mashed potato balls into egg wash, then into bread crumbs, perhaps turning the breaded potato into a cylindrical shape.
- Place breaded potato into skillet and cook until all sides are golden brown.
- Adjust seasoning of bread crumbs if necessary.
- Serve hot and crispy.