Is there a secret to making the Best Homemade Italian Potato Croquettes? Only one way to find out …one thing is for sure, they make one of the best Italian appetizers!
These crocchette di patate are a guaranteed crowd pleaser, whether you choose to serve them as part of your appetizer platter or as a side dish. They are so versatile that you can eat them hot or cold. In Italy, they are an extremely popular street food.
Who can resist a good spud, regardless of how it has been transformed? But did you know that the type of potato that you use can make all the difference in the final product?
So what is this potato-croquet secret I am talking about? Well, there are actually a few secrets I would like to share with you. In order to make the Best Homemade Italian Potato Croquettes, you need to use a mealy potato that becomes dry and fluffy when it is cooked. The Russet potato, also known as the Mighty Idaho, is the spud for us today. Just in case you are wondering, this is also the ideal potato to make perfect hash brown potatoes, gnocchi or just plain mashed potatoes.
You want to know another secret? Steam the potatoes instead of boiling them. That way, you end up with potatoes that are slightly drier than their boiled counterpart. Baking the potatoes, as opposed to boiling them, is another alternative which will provide excellent results. I absolutely love garlic with my Best Homemade Italian Potato Croquettes, so I will add a few cloves to be steamed alongside my russets. The potatoes are cooked when you can easily poke through the skin reaching the interior of the potato with a paring knife. This usually takes about 35-45 minutes, depending on the size of your potato. Always steam your potatoes with the skin.
When the potatoes have slightly cooled down, remove the skins and pass them through a potato ricer or a food mill. Gently combine the beaten egg, romano cheese, chopped parsley and pepper. Once the ingredients are combined, resist the temptation to over-mix – that will result in a gluey texture. As a side note, I add only a few pinches of salt, because I think that the cheese provides more than enough salt.
At this point, I will use my largest disher to make large scoops. With about 1½ pounds of mashed potatoes I can usually make about 10 scoops. As you can see, I place all my scoops on a baking sheet. If ever you have leftover mashed potatoes, you can easily make these croquettes.
I will then cut each scoop in half, and continue to shape each croquette into a log shape.
I will first roll each section into a small round ball and then proceed to roll into a log. Once you get the hang of it, it should take you just a few minutes to get them all done. This is perhaps a little obsessive but I cannot for the life of me free lance these little guys.
Okay, so now that you have formed your croquettes, place them in the fridge for about 20 minutes or so. In the meanwhile, you can do some prep stuff. Prepare three shallow bowls. In one shallow bowl, place the flour and season with pepper and salt (optional); in the second shallow bowl, whisk 2-3 eggs with 1 tablespoon of water; in the third shallow bowl, place the breadcrumbs (either homemade or store bought). I also line a baking dish with parchment paper, because these guys are going in the oven. Did you actually think that we were going to deep fry these little nuggets of goodness?
Roll each croquette in the flour mixture, making sure to shake off the excess flour. I will then place them back on the baking sheet. I continue to roll all of the croquettes in the flour. Notice there is just a light coating of flour. I find that this extra step helps to develop more of a crust.
I will then dip each flour coated croquette in the egg wash, followed by a roll in the breadcrumbs. I will then place them back on the baking sheet.
The traditional method will dictate that these croquettes are deep fried. So, at this time, I will put on my dietitian’s hat and tell you that there is a way to make these wonderful croquettes without deep frying them and without sacrificing (too much) on taste. So, are you ready for a little unconventional method?
I would like to propose the following: In a non-stick pan, over high heat, heat about 1-1½ teaspoons of olive oil. Manually roll each croquette in the pan while absorbing just enough of the oil to coat the exterior (please do not get burned). Allow the oil to be equally absorbed between 5 croquettes. Once you have 5 croquettes in the pan, shake the pan with a back and forth motion. In essence, the croquettes are being “pan fried” and rolled into a smooth shape.
Notice how polished and uniform they become. This will take just a few minutes. So shake the pan back and forth and occasionally lift the pan from the heat, in order to avoid burnt croquettes, until you get a nice golden color.
I will then place the croquettes on the parchment lined baking dish and place them in a preheated 375℉oven. I then proceed to make another batch. All in all I repeat this procedure 4 times.
Once I have “pan fried” my croquettes, I will leave them in the oven for about 15 minutes. Once again, unconventional, but you get that crispy exterior taste without deep frying.
Origin of the recipe for Best Homemade Italian Potato Croquettes:
As you can well imagine, these Best Homemade Italian Potato Croquettes would often be served at large family gatherings during my youth. If you are interested, and if you love potatoes and garlic, you have to try these Crispy Italian Oven Roasted Garlic Potatoes (just click on the link… ). It goes without saying that my mom would deep fry these croquettes. Throughout the years, I have tried to adapt a healthier version of this irresistible appetizer.
Did you know that these potato croquettes can also be stuffed with fresh mozzarella cheese? When forming your croquettes, just enclose a small sliver of fresh mozzarella and when heated, the mozzarella becomes all stringy and gooey and delicious! My mom would often prepare her crocchette di patate like this.
Looking for more appetizer inspiration? Head on over to David’s site at The Kitchen Addiction where you will find 15 gorgeous party appetizers, including this one 🙂
And there you have it my dear friends, a few of the secrets to making the Best Homemade Italian Potato Croquettes. Enjoy!
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- 1½ pounds riced (or mashed) potatoes
- 1 egg, slightly beaten, room temperature
- ½ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese (about 25 grams)
- 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup flour
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon water
- ½-3/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 6 teaspoons olive oil, separated
- Combine riced potatoes with the beaten egg, Romano cheese, chopped parsley, salt and pepper.
- Divide the mixture into 20 croquettes (Please refer to text for details).
- Prepare 3 shallow bowls with flour in the first, eggwash in the second, and breadcrumbs in the third bowl.
- Roll each croquette, one by one in the flour, make sure to remove excess.
- Dip each floured croquette in the egg wash and finally roll in the breadcrumbs.
- In batches of 5 croquettes, "pan fry" in 1-1½ teaspoon of olive oil (Please refer to text for details).
- Once all the croquettes have been "pan fried" place in a baking dish and in a preheated oven at 375℉ for 15 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
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Ciao for now!