Laver Croquettes

I had to make a trip to an architectural antiques shop in South Molton near Barnstaple, to buy a fitment for the kitchen. I found what I wanted, and then discovered that it was market day. On one of the fish stalls they were selling laver, that dark, delicious seaweed. It was the nicest I’d ever seen, looking almost like wild spinach with more texture to it than usual. It is common round the north Devon and Welsh coastlines, but strangely we don’t get it near Dartmouth.

Serve it as it is, warmed through and sharpened with the juice of a lemon, with roast lamb, or stretch a small amount round a generous number of people with these laver croquettes.

Ingredients

  • 450 g/1 lb laver
  • 50 g/2 oz butter
  • 50 g/2 oz flour
  • 300 ml/½ pint milk
  • 6 g/scant ¼ oz leaf gelatine (3 sheets), soaked
  • juice of 1 orange
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • dry breadcrumbs
  • butter and oil for frying

Method

Melt the butter in a pan and stir in the flour. Cook for 1 minute, remove from the heat, then gradually beat in the milk to make a smooth sauce. Return to the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Cool slightly, then add the gelatine and stir until it has dissolved. Leave until tepid. Stir in the laver and orange juice, and salt and pepper to taste.

Chill until very thick and almost set. Roll heaped tablespoons of the mixture into croquettes, and chill again until firm. Dip the croquettes into the beaten egg, then roll them in the crumbs. Again, chill for 30 minutes or so to firm up. Then shallow-fry in half butter and half oil until golden, or deep-fry. Drain the croquettes on kitchen paper and serve.

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