Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fish and Mashed Potato Croquette

For the past three years, cooking has been my favorite hobby. It's been what I look forward to on the way home from work, it's why I love weekend grocery shopping, and why I spend too much time reading cookbooks, food magazines, and blogs looking for recipe ideas.

But then January and February of 2011 descended upon Minnesota with the fury and vengeance of massive snow and bitter cold. And in the past few weeks I lost my joy for food. I haven't been cooking many dinners, have had to buy lunch once or twice, and have been considering cottage cheese or yogurt a meal for too many nights in a row. Nothing sounds delicious or exciting right now and I place full blame for this travesty on our harsh winter.

I'm sure this lack of food enthusiasm has been apparent on the blog. Fewer posts, and one of them was for a smoothie, for crying out loud! But readers, I'm feeling the tides turning!!! Fifty-four beautiful degrees today convinced me to shake myself out of this food rut.

My mom had baked up a whole bunch of tilapia filets at Christmas and there was so much leftover, she stuffed it all in a ziploc, froze it, and gave it to me. Reheated fish is scary and gross to me on its own, but it is awesome when made into fish sandwiches or fish cakes. I do it often, and have even substituted canned tuna or salmon when I don't have any filets available.

I defrosted the fish, mixed it with some simple boiled and smashed baby gold potatoes, added herbs and spices, and coated the patties in some panko bread crumbs. After quickly pan frying, the croquettes were crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. It paired perfectly with some sauteed onion, peas, and spinach.

Even when the weather takes another nosedive (which we all know it will), I'm determined to not follow the temps into negative territory. I can tell the food funk is over because I already have my next recipe on deck for this weekend. Thanks for sticking with me!

Fish and Mashed Potato Croquettes
2 cups cooked skinless boneless white fish filets, flaked (cod, halibut, tilapia, sole, etc)
2 cups boiled mashed potatoes, cooled (I used baby gold potatoes)
2 eggs, beaten
3 Tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 Tbsp Old Bay seasoning
panko breadcrumbs, for coating

Gently mix all ingredients together with a fork. Form into patties and coat with panko breadcrumbs. Line on a baking sheet and freeze for 30 minutes, then transfer to a large ziploc bag. I got 8 croquettes out of this batch.

When ready to cook, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a small amount of olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet. Add frozen croquette and pan fry for 3-5 minutes or until nicely browned. Flip and cook on the other side for 3-5 minutes to brown the other side. If your croquette was really frozen and still cool in the center, transfer to a hot oven to finish cooking through, 5 more minutes.

To make the pea mixture, chop 1/4 of a red onion and add to a skillet with a splash of olive oil, a pat of butter, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Cook over medium heat until soft. Add 1/2 cup frozen peas and cook until hot. Add 1 cup chopped fresh spinach and cook until it wilts.
Serve hot croquette on top of hot pea and spinach mixture. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese if desired.

ONE YEAR AGO: La Salade de Legumes
TWO YEARS AGO: Ribbon Salad

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