Waste not! Croquette.
I don’t waste food. I keep the scraps and cuttings — those little bit of trim you might easily discard — and find a way to use them.
Yesterday I made a lentil soup using pork bones to flavour the stock. After I strained the bones out from the soup, I pulled off the little meat that was left and along with the tips — not tops — of the carrot and celery, minced the whole fine and added a ladle of very thick béchamel and folded in a bit of boiled potatoes and seasonings. Into the fridge it went.
Today I fried fish, so croquettes were a good way to put those extra bits to use — dipped in egg and dredged in bread crumbs — as a croquette. There is no recipe, per say, just a pinch of this and a dice of that, a taste and a taste and a taste and dash of what fits. However, there is a formula in the back of my mind I learned from Julia Child.
first tier — you must use
- 1/2 cup of white AP flour
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups of liquid (must be cold)**
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- egg (for dipping, vegans can omit)
- bread crumbs (for coating)
- oil (for frying)
second tier — suggested to use
- 1 cup of any meat, fish, vegetable you’d like in your croquet
third tier — optional
- minced shallots of onions (to flavour the roux)
- minced carrot or celery (to flavour the roux)
Melt the butter in a pan and add the optional ingredients. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes then add the flour and cook to until it’s the colour you want (this is called roux), most often a very pale shade of beige. Add in all of your liquid and whisk until it’s thoroughly blended, then stir until it’s thick. Add in the trimmings and whatever flavourings and spices you’re using. Take off the heat and cool. (I place my in the fridge until the next day.)
Beat an egg in a bowl. Beside it place bread crumbs. Carefully take the now cold/cool mixture and shape, dip in the egg, then into the bread crumbs. Put them all in a plate until you’re ready to fry. (Note: It’s best they be at room temperature before you fry, but it is much easier to handle the mixture if it’s cold.)
Fry them in hot oil (190 degrees Celsius/375 degrees Fahrenheit) until browned.
**Julia would tell you to use milk, which is really the very best idea, but I’ve gotten creative over the years juicing Shitake mushrooms or using veal stock, or even cream in place of some or all of the milk. Also, you could add a couple of egg yolks to enrich the batter. It’s all about what you have on hand at any given time.
When making roux you must incorporate cold liquid into the hot roux or the roux and liquid will not mix crating a lumpy soup.