Hot & Smokey Croquettes with Mixed Salad
For the croquettes
4 tbsp / 55g unsalted butter
½ cup / 75g very finely chopped onion
⅔ cup / 100g all-purpose flour
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp / 20g The Cherry Tree Hot Garlic Pickle
1½ cups / 375ml whole milk
¼ cup / 60ml double thick cream
2½ cups / 330g finely shredded skinless, boneless roasted chicken or store-bought rotisserie chicken
2 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
⅛ tsp freshly ground white or black pepper
1 cup / 65g panko breadcrumbs
1 large egg
canola oil, for frying
2 bags / 280g of mixed leaf salad
For the dressing
20g olive oil
10g balsamic vinegar
For the croquettes
Make the béchamel: Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the onion and the hot garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and soft but not at all browned, about 15 minutes.
Add ⅓ cup flour and cook, whisking continuously, just until the raw flour smell dissipates, about 3 minutes. Continue whisking while adding the milk a little at a time to prevent the mixture from clumping.
Whisk in the cream. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then boil for 2 to 3 minutes, whisking the whole time.
Add the smoked paprika, cheese, chicken, salt, nutmeg, and pepper and stir for 2 minutes to draw out some of the moisture.
Spread the mixture on a half-sheet pan and refrigerate, uncovered, until cold.
Shape and fry the croquettes: Roll 1 heaping tablespoon of the croquette mixture into a football shape. It should be about 2-inches long and 1-inch in diameter at its thickest point. Repeat with the remaining mixture. If the mixture has softened in the process, refrigerate until firm.
Process the panko in a food processor into fine crumbs, then transfer to a shallow dish. Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon milk in another shallow dish and place the remaining ⅓ cup flour in a third dish. Working with 4 or 5 pieces at a time, coat in flour and shake off excess, then coat with egg and let excess drip off. Finally, dredge in the panko to completely cover.
Transfer to a wax-paper-lined half-sheet pan. At this point, you can freeze the coated croquettes. When rock hard, transfer to airtight containers and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.
When ready to cook
Fill a deep frying pan with canola oil to a depth of ½-inch.
Heat over high heat until you see ripples forming on the surface.
Drop in one croquette to test the oil temperature. If it does not begin to sizzle immediately, then remove the croquette right away and wait until the oil gets hot enough.
Add just enough croquettes to fit in a single layer without crowding and reduce the heat to medium.
Fry, using a fork or spoon to carefully turn the croquettes to brown on all sides, until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
Transfer to a paper towel−lined plate to drain. Repeat with the remaining croquettes.
Cool for at least 5 minutes before serving. You don’t want to burn your tongue, and the croquettes taste great when completely cooled, too.
When ready to serve
Serve the croquettes with mixed leaf salad dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar or one of The Cherry Tree salad dressings, Spiced Mango Dressing works well with this dish.