serves: about 24 croquettes, 6 side dish servings
This is the side dish to make when you find yourself with leftover mashed potatoes. (If you are using leftover mashed potatoes use your judgment about the ingredients you want to add, since the mashed potatoes are flavored already.) It also makes a wonderful dish for entertaining-everyone loves them and you can keep them warm in an oven up to 30 minutes after you make them.
1 pound potatoes, preferably Yukon Gold
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
freshly ground white pepper
freshly ground nutmeg
3 large eggs
½ cup Italian prosciutto, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped
2 cups fine, dry breadcrumbs, or as needed
2 cups vegetable oil
Scrub the potatoes well, but don’t peel them. Pour enough cold water over the potatoes in a medium saucepan to cover them by three fingers. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat slightly to a gentle boil. Cook until tender when poked with a wooden skewer or the tip of a paring knife, 20 to 35 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes.
Drain the potatoes and let them stand until cool enough to handle. Scrape off the skins with a knife and pass the potatoes through a ricer or force them through a coarse sieve back into the empty pot. Stir in the butter, set the pot over medium heat and stir until the puree is smooth. Remove from the heat, season with salt, white pepper and a touch of nutmeg. Beat one of the eggs and stir it along with the prosciutto and parsley into the potato mixture until all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Cool to room temperature.
Using about 2 tablespoons of the potato mixture for each, form cylindrical croquettes about 2 inches long. Refrigerate the croquettes, uncovered, until firm, about 20 minutes. They can also be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day before continuing with the recipe.
Whisk the remaining two eggs well in a wide bowl. Spread the breadcrumbs and flour out on separate plates or sheets of wax paper. Working with a few at a time, dredge the croquettes in flour to coat them lightly and tap off the excess. Dip the floured croquettes into the egg, turning well to coat all sides evenly. Let excess egg drip back into the bowl, then lay the croquettes in the pan of breadcrumbs. Turn to coat all sides and ends well with breadcrumbs, pressing very gently with your hands until the breadcrumbs adhere well to the croquettes.
Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy, medium skillet over medium heat to 350 degrees F.
When the oil reaches temperature or when the edge of one of the croquettes gives off a lively sizzle when lowered into the oil, slip half the croquettes into the oil. Fry, carefully turning them as necessary, until golden on all sides, about 4 minutes. Adjust the heat under the pan as the croquettes cook so they cook evenly. Remove the croquettes with a slotted spoon and drain them on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining croquettes. Fried croquettes can be kept warm on a baking sheet in a 200 degrees F oven for up to 20-30 minutes.