Sicilian Potato Croquettes

Crochette de Patate Alla Siciliana

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    6

Appears in

Sephardic Flavors: Jewish Cooking of the Mediterranean

Sephardic Flavors

By Joyce Goldstein

Published 2000

  • About

While they are not the classic Ashkenazic latkes, these potato croquettes would be ideal at the Hanukkah table. They are also called bimuelos de patata in the Balkans, keftikes de patata in Greece, or fritas de patata kon kezo in Ladino, and they are affectionately known as patates toplar by the Sephardim in Turkey. Although the word toplar means “cannonball, ” they are not heavy, just round. Turkish Jews dip them in broken noodles rather than bread crumbs. While these are delicious seasoned with just parsley and cheese, the green onion and garlic add a deeper flavor note, the mint contributes brightness, and the pine nuts deliver texture.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boiling potatoes, peeled and quartered or halved
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • cup grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons chopped fresh mint (optional)
  • ¼ cup finely minced green onion, including tender green tops (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
  • ¼ cup pine nuts (optional)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • vegetable or olive oil for deep-frying
  • all-purpose flour for coating
  • fine dried bread crumbs for coating

Method

Place the potatoes in a saucepan with lightly salted water to cover generously. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain well and, while still warm, pass them through a potato ricer placed over a bowl or mash them. Add the egg yolks, parsley, cheese, and the mint, green onion, garlic, and pine nuts, if using. Stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Form into 1-inch balls or ovals.

Pour the oil to a depth of 3 inches into a saucepan or a deep sauté pan, and heat to 375 degrees F on a deep-frying thermometer. Meanwhile, in a bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Spread a little flour on one plate and some bread crumbs on a second plate. Dip the balls or ovals first into the flour, then into the egg whites, and finally into the crumbs, coating evenly at each step. Place on racks or parchment paper-lined baking sheets. (These croquettes can be prepared up to this point a few hours ahead of serving and covered and refrigerated until you are ready to fry them.)

When oil is hot, add the croquettes, in batches, and deep-fry until golden, about 5 minutes. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain, then keep warm in the oven preheated to 250 degrees F until all the croquettes are fried. Serve hot.