Ham and cheese croquettes

These…were born from a mistake. Basically, I did not have enough rice to make arancini one summer ago, and I was craving fried food like a fat motherfucker. I had maybe 1/4 cup of rice, but I found potatoes in my fridge. So I decided, why the fuck not, let’s go with that shit and make rice and potato based croquettes instead. They were fucking delicious and while I wound up making like close to 12 with this recipe, I enjoyed the ones I made day-of, happily froze the ones I didn’t eat right away, and the next thing I knew, my roommate and her friends ate them in my absence. I mean, they were fucking delicious, so I didn’t blame her, but I was sad because I wanted to shove more of those into my face and get them closer to my belly.

I went with ham and cheese as my inspiration because I had spam in my pantry (and in my email, but then I learned I could unsubscribe from mailing lists and it was like clouds parting to reveal the heavens beyond). The cheese, I mean, who DOESN’T like cheesy potatoes? Unless you’re lactose intolerant, then you shouldn’t. They’re fucking delicious. I used parmesan, cheddar, and mascarpone in this recipe, because why the hell not? It’s not like I was on a diet or anything. Well, if you lived in Boston during the summer, you’d sweat off enough calories to eat five meals, in my opinion.

For the croquettes:
1/4 cup rice
2 russet potatoes; peeled and diced
2 eggs
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
3/4 cups finely diced spam; rendered crisp
2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons cheddar cheese, grated
a pinch of salt
canola oil for frying

First things first, cook the rice and potatoes. What I wound up doing was boiling both together, and then once they were both cooked (just test by smashing a piece of potato and a piece of rice, and if both can be smashed on the backside of a spoon, then you’re good), I strained them and blended them with the cheeses and a little bit of salt. I let that cool down slightly before adding in 1 egg. Then I folded in the rendered spam. I formed each croquette, making them about 1 inch in diameter and then I dusted them with flour, dredged them in beaten egg, and covered them with panko. From there, I got my frier oil going. If you’re like me and don’t own a deep frier, then you can just use a pot. To test the oil temperature, just use your fingers, and if you do, you’re an idiot and you should give up on cooking a cube of bread. Heat the pot of oil, which should be filled at most, 2/3rds the way up, on high heat. Once the bread cube turns golden, then turn down the heat to medium-low and begin frying the croquettes for about 2 minutes. Strain them out and place on a paper towel to drain off the excess oil (make sure the paper towel is nowhere near the stove, unless you hate your eyebrows). Sprinkle with a little more salt just to make sure that the exterior is seasoned as well. Garnish with microherbs if you want to feel less guilty about putting deep-fried carb balls with cheese and processed meat into your body.

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