There’s something to be said for the beauty of a small bite – as an eater, you are (hopefully) treated to a microcosm of flavors all combined in a single tasty morsel. As the chef, you are tasked with creating a complex body of flavors, carefully melded together to treat the diner with a one-punch knock out sensation. It’s goodness. Nay, the bestness. Unlike my grammar.
This dish is a shout out to my love of Caribbean and Spanish flavors when combined and/or fried. There’s something about spicy, salty, cool, crunchy and sweet that just makes me swoon big time. One of my favorite examples of this is in this incredibly simple, savory croquette made with a combination of sweet potatoes and chorizo. Based on the famous Spanish tapas, Croquetas con Picadillo, this dish is prepared under many names and with various flavor combinations (like the delicious Cuban twin, Papas Rellenas). The potato/meat mixture is formed into small balls and then breaded and fried into a lovely golden morsel. Play up the gorgeousness of sweet and salty by serving this with a light mango sauce, grilled pineapple or peach salsa.
Sweet Potato Croquettes
3 c. of mashed sweet potatoes
4 tbs. butter, melted
1/4 c. of milk
1 tsp. of pepper
2 tsp. of salt
2 eggs, lightly scrambled
4 tbs. of flour
pinch of nutmeg
1 lb. of fresh chorizo, removed from casing
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 c. of flour
1 egg, beaten
2 tbs. of water
1/2 c. of bread crumbs
oil for frying
Mix the mashed potatoes with the butter, salt, pepper, salt, beaten eggs and nutmeg. Place in a fridge to chill. In a large skillet, brown the chorizo well. Once fully cooked, add the garlic and red pepper and continue to cook until fragrant. Cool the chorizo filling and stir into the mashed potatoes. Return mixture to the fridge to cool.
Scoop the mashed potatoes into portions 3 tablespoons each. Wet your hands and form each of the portions into a smooth ball. Place on a cookie sheet lined with a sheet of wax paper. When you’ve rolled all of the croquettes, place in the freezer to allow them to solidify a bit.
While the croquettes are cooling, break out 3 shallow dishes. Add 1/2 c. of flour to one dish. Scramble the egg and two tbs. of water together in the second dish. Place the breadcrumbs in the third dish. Take the croquettes out of the freezer and start an assembly line. First dredge them in the flour, shaking off the excess. Then, plunk them in the egg to wet them all over. Lastly, dredge in the breadcrumbs and place on a clean dish or another cookie sheet lined with parchment.
Heat a pot of cooking oil to 340° and gently lower a batch of arancini into the hot oil (5 at a time is good). Cook until beautifully golden on the outside, about 9 minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve with a fat wedge of lime and a sweet dipping sauce of your choice.