Crunchy potato croquettes laced with pungent dried mushrooms dipped in creamy, cheesy sauce.
I always know when it’s not worth my while to make a trip down to the fishmongers. Mondays or any time there’s been a spell of bad weather like the last couple of days means there won’t be much fresh fish around bar the usual suspect……a.k.a farmed fish – salmon, sea bass or mussels.
The weather been so bad that the thought of a shopping trip to the supermarket fills me with dread. I don’t like shopping at the best of times and I’ve no intention of budging outside the house today. So this gives me the chance to use up some ingredients that have been hanging around the kitchen a while.
A while back I discovered some dried mushrooms lurking at the back of the cupboard behind some chinese five spice. I’m not sure how long they’ve been there but I’m guessing at least a year…..maybe more. They’re still dry and crisp so I reckon they’ll be fine to eat even though I can’t make out the best before date on the packet.
Thier black trompettes or as the french call them trompettes du mort. A fitting name because you look like you might die if you ate them and I’d be the first to admit they don’t look all that appetizing.
Trompettes are a type of black chanterelle that you often see fresh in boxes of wild mushroom mix during the summer. To use the dried version or indeed any dried mushroom first you need to reconstitute them in some warm water or even some wine. This leaves you with both the mushrooms and a richly flavoured stock to use….but thats not what I’m going to do with these.
For this recipe you need to turn the mushrooms into a fine powder to flavour the potato. so put them in a mortar and pestle and pound away for a couple of minutes till you’ve turned them to dust. Feel free to use a food processor If you like but I was too lazy to get in out, put it together, and then clean it when I’m finished.
They dry nearly every type of wild mushrooms I can think of shiitake, cepes, morels, and chanterelles, and they would all work fine in this recipe. They all taste a little different but have the same concentrated flavour and intoxicating smell.
They’re also a great store cupboard ingredient to have on hand as they have a very intense and concentrated umami flavour that can give a real boost to stocks, sauces, risotto, and casseroles.
Croquettes can be time-consuming to make and I’m not going to insult anyones intelligence by telling you how to make mashed potatoes. But anytime I’m making croquettes I find its best to steam the potatoes, this stops too much water getting into the spuds and interfering with the consistency of the croquettes. Always go for the more flowery types of potatoes too like roosters or kerrs pinks.
To crumb the croquettes I’ve used panko bread crumbs and if you like crunchy then panko is the way to go. The crumbs are made from a type of Japanese bread that’s baked by passing an electrical current through the dough. This means it’s a bread without a crust and it has a really airy texture that absorbs very little grease when its fried. The result is super crunchy.
I’ve teamed the croquettes up with some smelly pont l’eveque cheese that’s approaching its best before date. Pont l’eveque was first made in Normandy in the 12th century by monks (they invented all the best stuff – beer, whiskey, cheese) Its got quite a strong smell probably owing to the fact it’s both uncooked and unpasteurized (pregnant women beware) but its distinctive, ripe flavour works well with the mushrooms. If you can’t get any pont l’eveque then go for another ripe, semi soft cheese or even a blue like Roquefort would work.
This is an ideal recipe for a canape or snack. You can make the ahead of time, keep them in the freezer and cook them from frozen.
Its amazing just how creative you can get when your lazy…..anything to postpone a shopping trip till tomorrow.
Peel your potatoes, cut them into even chunks and put them in a steamer over some boiling water, then cook till tender.
Mash your potatoes well…making sure there are no lumps.
Grind up the dried ceps in a food processor to a fine powder and add them to the potato mix along with the melted butter and extra virgin olive oil.
Season the potato mix and put it in a piping bag. Next pipe out the croquettes into 3 inch lengths on a sheet of greaseproof paper.
At this stage the potatoes will be to soft to crumb, so put them in the freezer to chill down and harden for about a 1/2 an hour. They’ll be easier to handle.
While the croquettes are chilling you can make the dip. Simply mix together the mayonnaise and creme fraiche before dicing up the cheese and adding it to the mix. I like the dip to be chunky, but if you want it smoother whizz it up in a blender.
When the croquettes have cooled down and are hard enough to handle, dip them in the flour, followed by the egg, and finally the breadcrumbs. If you want them extra crunchy you can double dip them by dunking them in the egg and crumbs again. Make sure they’re completely covered in breadcrumbs or they disintegrate and break apart in the oil when you fry them.
Deep fry the croquettes in hot oil (180c / 350f) till golden then drain well on a kitchen towel.
Serve and enjoy
If you can’t get pont l’eveque then use another ripe, semi soft cheese or even a blue like roquefort