My second book Small Fishy Bites is now translated into Dutch (Tapas Met Vis) and this set me thinking about my friend Lily and how the Dutch like potato croquettes.
The French call them croquettes, Italians know them as crocchette.
When I was in primary school and living in Adelaide I used to have a friend called Lily. She and her family were Dutch and her mother used to call them Kroket.
My mother also cooked crochette di patate (potato croquettes) and sometimes when we came home from school there would be a snack waiting for us if they had been on the menu and were left over from the night before.
Lily’s mum fried her croquettes in vegetable oil whereas my mum fried hers in olive oil so I could always taste a difference.
Sometimes my mum used to put a little ham or a cube of cheese in the centre.
In Small Fishy Bites, there is a recipe for crocchette di patate and being a book about fish these croquettes have anchovies or smoked eel in them; the fish can be spread throughout the potato mixture or inserted into the centre. Great with drinks!
In the photo above you can see the two potato ricers I use. The one on the right is very old and came from Trieste where I lived as a child.
To stop the potatoes becoming soggy, I boil the potatoes whole and then peel them once they are cool.24oz/700 g potatoes 2 eggs, lightly beaten 2 cloves garlic, minced ½ cup parsley, finely chopped 4 anchovies, cut into small pieces (or 4 oz/100 g flaked smoked eel) salt and freshly ground pepper a little flour or breadcrumbs to coat the crocchette extra virgin olive oil for frying
Instead of the anchovies you could also use 3½ oz/100 g of smoked eel. Cook the potatoes until soft (boil or use a microwave). Peel when cool enough to handle and use a ricer or a Mouli grater (a hand-operated cooking tool designed for grating or pureeing small quantities of food) mouler to mash them. Let cool completely. Add the eggs, garlic, parsley and seasoning and the fish last of all. Shape the mixture into egg shape patties and just before frying roll them in a little plain flour. Fry until golden and only turn once.