In the summer of 2004 I studied abroad in Sevilla, Spain. It was a great summer filled with drinking boxed wine on the street, eating delicious Spanish food, traveling around the country and improving my Spanish. I ate tapas before they were cool here in the US. My señora was a great cook, and I wish I had learned a bit more from her.
On my first day, she prepared gazpacho and croquetas (croquettes). Upon my first taste of the cold tomato soup, I was worried that I was going to hate the food in Spain. But then when I first took my first bite of the croqueta- I knew I could survive. It was warm, crispy on the outside, soft and gooey on the inside. Yes, I could definitely eat these. Fortunately, I eventually fell in love with gazpacho and many other delicious recipes Macarena (my señora) prepared.
Most Spanish croquetas are made with meat, the most popular being chicken or ham and cheese. But sometimes you just need some extra vegetables in your life. So when I found this recipe for a vegetable croqueta- I couldn’t pass it up.
Vegetable Croquetas with Arugula
Adapted from: Cooking Light (March 2012)
1 large or 2-3 small potatoes
8 oz cremini mushrooms, halved
1 leek, washed & roughly chopped
2 tsp thyme, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup Gruyère, shredded
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 egg, yolk & white separated
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup panko
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Boil water in a small pan, then drop in the potato(es). Allow to boil until they are cooked. Take it out of the water, and then mash the potato into a smooth consistency.
Add the mushrooms, leeks and thyme into a food processor. Pulse until all of the vegetables are finely chopped.
Heat a large skillet, and add 1 tbsp of olive oil. Once it’s warm, add the mushroom mixture and mashed potato, allow it to cook for about 5 minutes. Turn off the burner, but while the mixture is still warm add the Gruyère, salt, pepper and egg yolk. Stir the ingredients well.
Divide the mixture and shape each piece (of about 2-3 tbsp) into little logs or round patties. Lay them out.
Have the flour in a shallow dish. In another dish have the egg white. In a third dish, combine and mix the panko crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Dredge each vegetable patty in the flour, then dip it in the egg white, and lastly dredge it again in the panko mixture. Do this with all of your patties.
Heat up the skillet once more, add 1 tbsp of olive oil. Then add each of the patties, cook them for about 5 minutes on each side, or until they are golden brown.
I topped a arugula salad with these croquetas, drizzled with a vinaigrette.