Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cheesy Baked Croquettes with Smoked Trout & Prawn Sauce

Yeah, that's quite the title isn't it? The prawn sauce is optional, BTW. One night I served them as a main course without the prawn sauce but with a side salad, and the next night as a side dish with the prawn sauce.

Personally, I like them better with the prawn sauce.

The amounts of each ingredient aren't listed --with one or two exceptions-- you'll see why, no worries.

Cheesy Baked Croquettes with Smoked Trout & Prawn Sauce

What you need:

For the croquettes:

4 to 6 cups of leftover mashed potato --do I REALLY need to explain how to make mashed spuds?
handful of fresh basil leaves
diced cheddar cheese --somewhere around 1.5 cm but please don't be exact
couple of handfuls of bread crumbs
cumin powder
turmeric powder
thin-sliced smoked trout (or smoked salmon)

For the prawn sauce:

Handful of prawn shells (I ALWAYS keep prawn shells after shelling the prawns, they freeze well and you just break off a hunk whenever you want to make a sauce or stock)
1 crushed garlic clove
1 or 2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp lambrusco wine
1 tbsp cream fraiche OR sour cream OR double cream
dash of sea salt
dash of ground white pepper
4 cups H2O (water)

Whut U Due:

Cube some cheddar cheese to around 1.5 cm (3/5 of an inch) --or somewhere thereabouts. Mince up some fresh basil leaves (rinse them first, could be caterpillars hiding).

Your cutting board should now look thusly:

Mix the basil into the mashed spuds. Place some of the spuds into your hand --each croquette should be between golfball and tennis ball size.

Flatten the mashed potato in your palm and place a piece of cheese in the middle.

Carefully mold the potato around the cheese


Make up as many or as few as you'd like, no worries. I used three per person as a main and one per person as a side dish. Put them on a plate and then refridgerate for an hour. This way they'll be easier to crumb.

So, like, what to do for an hour while the croquettes chill in the fridge? How about make some prawn sauce!

Add your empty prawn shells and the garlic and 4 cups of water into a saucepan. Crank the heat up and simmer for an hour. If the water gets too low, then just add some more water. You want to end up with around 2 cups of liquid.

Turn off the heat. Take a potato masher and mash the shells flat to extract every last bit of prawny goodness. Strain and return the strained liquid to the pan. Cover the saucepan and set aside. Let's return to the croquettes.

Spread your plain bread crumbs on a tray or plate. The sprinkle on a bit of salt and two of my favourite spices; cumin powder and turmeric powder.

Mix the breadcrumbs around so the crumbs are full of the spices.

After the potato balls have chilled, take them out of the fridge and make up an egg wash: one egg plus equal amount water. And put a bit of flour in a bowl too.

Roll each bowl in the flour (lightly shake off excess), roll it in the egg wash, and then roll in the breadcrumbs.

This is what they look like before baking:

Bake them at around 375 F. Long enough to brown the breading, but not so long that the cheese leaks out. 15 mins should do it --I wasn't timing these but I'd check every few minutes to make sure the cheese wasn't running out.

While they bake, shall we finish the sauce?

Turn the heat on the liquid as low as possible and add the mustard, wine, salt and pepper. Whisk it well, let the sauce come up to a simmer (don't boil it) and taste for seasonings. You might want to add a bit more salt or pepper, but don't make it spicy as this isn't a spicy sauce.

Turn the heat off and cover to keep warm. Just before serving whisk in the cream fraiche (or sour cream or double cream). If you need to heat it back up do so, but it'll only take a minute at most --don't let it boil after you've added the cream.

Spoon it over the baked croquettes BEFORE you top with the smoked trout and basil sprig.

This is what the croquettes look like after baking:

The first night they were a main course without sauce. 3 per plate and a thin slice of smoked trout curled on top. This was my plate:
No, that's not gunky, fatty dressing. It's my own homemade tzatziki

The next night they were a side dish to baked basa and I made the prawn sauce to drizzle over the top. After the sauce is drizzled over the croquettes, then artfully arrange a slice of smoked trout on top and fresh basil to top it. This plate was MIL's just before I added the side salad.

This plate was mine:

I've been told that I can make these ANY time I want, everyone loved them. Enjoy!

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