Crocchette di Patate (Potato Croquettes)

Kids get very antsy when they have to sit still through long meals.  For that reason, I go around with Ipods and Ipads (if my bag is big enough) to entertain both children.  I already lost the battle of antagonizing my initial opinion the first time I saw a child playing with a computer game in a restaurant years ago.  A friend commented that we will have to do the same thing to go through dinners.  I was vehement in my opinion about it.  "No way!"  I ate my words a long time ago.  

Last night, we were out in a Chinese restaurant to celebrate a friend's birthday.  As much as I cajoled the kids to play with the Ipod, the chopsticks won their attention.  And as naturally as any kid would handle them, they were used as drum sticks on the table.  Fortunately, the other restaurant patrons didn't mind.  The conversation veered towards the probability that my son is interested in playing drums.  That's when I proclaimed that I WAS A DRUMMER when I was young.  It got everyone's attention with an astounded, "Really?" 

I didn't realize how funny that must have been, coming from a woman my age, being a drummer in a band.  When you reach this age, people seem to be surprised that you had a different life before.  I reacted the same way when I learned that my maternal grandmother had been the pitcher of her school baseball team when she was in her teens.  I thought, "But you're a grandmother!"

I still keep my last drum sticks and on very rare moments when I feel musically inclined, I grab them and hit the table too, just like what my son had been doing.  And my parents used to call me their little drummer girl.

Now the recipe.  Crocchette di patate (potato croquettes) are quite common as appetizers in restaurants, pizzerie and rosticcerie (rotisserie).  I put more prosciutto and parmigiano reggiano to take out more flavors.  And instead of putting mozzarella at the center which is the typical cheese used when they are filled up, I used brie, which gave more taste.  However, brie doesn't produce stretchy filaments as the mozzarella does when melted.

Buon appetito!

Crocchette di Patate (Potato Croquettes)

Makes around 12 croquettes
  • 500 grams potatoes
  • 150 grams prosciutto cotto (cooked ham), chopped finely
  • 2 eggs
  • 100 grams parmigiano reggiano, grated
  • 50 grams brie, mozzarella or any cheese that melts easily, diced
  • breadcrumbs
  • about 2 sprigs of thyme
  • small bunch of parsley, chopped finely
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, grated
  • salt 
  • pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil (or any oil you are using for frying)
  1. Boil the potatoes in salted water.  When they are cooked, peel then mash them using a potato ricer or any instrument you have for mashing.  
  2. In a wide bowl, mix the mashed potatoes, grated parmigiano reggiano, prosciutto cotto, thyme, parsley, grated nutmeg, salt, pepper and 1 egg.  Taste before adding the egg if salt is enough.
  3. Get a spoonful (abundant) and make a ball.  Poke the middle with your finger to insert a piece of brie or any other cheese you have prepared.  Close by making it into a ball again.  From this point, flatten a bit in between your palms to make them cylindrical.  Repeat until you finish the mixture.
  4. Prepare a bowl for the breadcrumbs and another one for the remaining egg.  Whisk the egg.
  5. Dip the croquettes in the whisked egg.  Shake off the excess.  
  6. Cover with breadcrumbs.  Shake off the excess.  
  7. Fry them until golden brown.
  8. Drain them on paper towels to remove excess oil.
  9. Serve immediately.