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Piccalilli and Aged Cheddar Croquettes with Homemade Wholegrain Mustard Mayonnaise

Prep Time:

45 minutes - 1 hour, plus cooling overnight

Cook Time:

30 mins

Serves:

6-8

About the Recipe

Ever since working at a Spanish tapas restaurant in the UK, I've always had a love for the croquette, especially the Spanish croquette made with a béchamel base rather than the French croquette, which is potato-based. (The more you know!)

At the time, I was a CDP (chef de partie) and it was my first position working in a very refined restaurant. Mushroom croquettes were one of the best sellers on the section and one of my favourites to pop an extra in the fryer to "test that they were still good."

Enough about me; this recipe is super easy to make, but I'm not gonna lie, it is quite labour-intensive. However, the result is truly worth it: the crisp snap of breadcrumbs as you bite in, the soft cheesy centre, and a little crunch every now and again from the piccalilli. Dip them in the mustard mayo and boy, oh boy, are you in for a little treat!

When testing this recipe, I think I nearly ate all of them 🐷. They also make perfect hangover food, but be warned, once you start eating, you won't be able to resist the rest!

Top tip for pané/breadcrumbing: try to keep each hand to a similar ingredient. So, keep one hand for flour and breadcrumbs and the other for moving the croquettes into the flour and from the egg wash.

Let me know what you think in the comments. Do you want more recipes like this or simpler ones? Less talking or do you like the longer form? I'd love to hear from you.

Have fun cooking!

Ingredients

Croquette base


  • 500 ml whole milk plus extra for panne (bread crumbing)

  • 125g unsalted butter

  • 150g plain flour

  • 2 cloves

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 150g piccalilli

  • 100g aged cheddar plus more to grate over the top


Paner ( breadcrumb)


  • 200mls milk

  • 1 whole egg

  • panko breadcrumbs

  • Plain flour to dust


Mustard mayonnaise


  • 50g mayo

  • 10g wholegrain mustard

  • 5g hot English mustard


to garnish


  • Chives thinly sliced




Preparation

For the croquette base


  1. In a pot, add the milk, cloves, and bay leaf and bring it up to just steaming. Then reduce the heat to low and leave it to infuse while you weigh all the ingredients.

  2. Once you've got all your ingredients weighed, cheese grated, etc., it's time to start cooking. In a heavy-based pot, add your butter and melt it gently.

  3. Once melted, add your flour and stir until incorporated. Keep cooking on medium heat, stirring constantly until it resembles a sandy texture and is fairly light in color.

  4. Strain your milk into a measuring jug.

  5. Add around 150ml of milk to your butter and flour (roux) and mix until smooth and at this stage very thick! It's very important to only add a little bit of milk at a time; otherwise, your mixture will never become smooth by stirring.

  6. Continue adding the milk in stages until it's all in. Keep stirring until the mixture is smooth again, then turn the heat down and allow it to cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking (sometimes for whatever reason it just sticks, there's nothing you can do about it other than to soak your pot afterwards).

  7. Turn off the heat and transfer the mixture into a large mixing bowl and allow it to cool. You still want it to be warm but not so hot that it burns you when you cook. If you judge it wrong, it's not the end of the world; it'll still taste delicious! It's just that the fat will come off the cheese once added, and you'll end up with oily patches. You can soak these up with paper towels if needed.

  8. While waiting for it to cool, line a small baking tray or brownie tin with glad wrap/clingfilm, making sure that there is an overhang on the edges so you don't end up with a tightly woven croquette alla glad wrap.

  9. Once it's reached the desired temperature (don't worry, you've got this 🙌), mix through the grated cheddar and piccalilli, keep mixing until fully incorporated.

  10. Now it's time to taste and season. The cheese and piccalilli should have done a pretty good job of seasoning, but everybody's tastes are different. Season as you think fit and crack some black pepper in there if you really want to go all out.

  11. Once you're happy with everything, tip it into the lined tray and flatten it down with the back of a spoon until fairly evenly spread. It doesn't need to be perfect; we're going to be shaping this anyway. We just want it to cool down as fast as possible.

  12. Cover the top with the overhanging cling film, and once you feel it's cool enough, place it in the fridge and leave it overnight to properly set up.


For the paner (breadcrumbs)


  1. Remove your croquette mix from the fridge. It should be fairly firm to the touch and not overly sticky.

  2. I like to use a weighing scale to size the croquettes, but you can use a spoon or do it by eye. Whichever way you choose, aim for around 40g per croquette. Once weighed, roll into a ball and then gently flatten out into a cylinder if you want a more classic look. Place on a floured tray and continue until all the mix is weighed out.

  3. Return to the fridge while you get your crumbing station ready. You'll want a bowl of flour (less is more), a bowl of panko (scrunch these in your hands a bit to break them up; it'll give you better coverage), and a final bowl with your milk and whole egg whisked.

  4. Starting with the flour, place a croquette and, depending on how firm they are, gently coat in flour. If super firm, you can be a little bit rough.

  5. Once coated, shake off any excess flour and plunge them into the egg wash. Give it a bit of a swish around and remove, letting the excess drip off.

  6. Put into the breadcrumbs and give a good toss until evenly coated, then place on a clean tray. Continue until all croquettes are crumbed.

  7. These can now be placed in the fridge in a container for a few days, or they can be frozen and then thawed when needed.


For the mayo.


  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Place in a ramekin to serve or underneath the croquettes if serving canapé style.


To cook


A quick note:


I prefer using a little benchtop fryer for this, but if you don't have one, shallow frying is fine. Just make sure the croquettes are covered by oil, as you need the frying to be quick; otherwise, you risk them popping. Another note, please be very careful around fryers and hot oil. I've worked with lots of chefs who have come away with blisters the size of golf balls from being splashed with hot oil. Sometimes we forget how dangerous cooking is, so please really do be careful!


  1. Heat your oil to around 180°C. Once hot, carefully put 5-6 croquettes at a time into the oil. If you're shallow frying, you could probably do more, just don't want them to be cramped and touching each other.

  2. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

  3. Remove from the oil/basket and place on some kitchen roll. Leave for 1-2 minutes before serving.

  4. Enjoy!

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