Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Spring Fishing

My nose was counter high and I could sniff out a salmon croquette night like nobody else. Mom would start the night before. She'd melt the butter and stir in flour to make a roux, then in a huge mixing bowl she'd combine the roux with pink-labelled cans of salmon. Then the whole thing would be packed into the refrigerator. That was the most agonizing part; waiting an entire 24 hours for dinner.

Mom shaped her croquettes into little cones, then coated them with flour, egg, and bread crumbs. Back into the refrigerator they'd go and again I waited. When at last she pulled out the big frying pot I knew we were close. She fried the croquettes to a beautiful golden and served them with a lemon-pea gravy. I ate them by the dozens. My favorite parts were the crunchy bits that I found out much later were bones. Mom always said the bones provided calcium. Nose to fin thinking?

Summer means trout season. I cannot get enough. But that means sometimes I buy too much. Thankfully leftover trout is not a hardship. Croquettes are a great way to repurpose tonight's grilled fish.

Trout Croquettes
10 ounces cooked trout, bones and skin removed
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons spelt flour
2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
1/2 cup milk or half-n-half
2 - 3 tablespoons minced shallot
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon each relish and capers
1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1 cup dried bread crumbs
Vegetable oil for frying
Flake fish and set aside.

Melt butter in small sauce pan and add Old Bay and mustard. Cook about 2 minutes, then whisk in flour; cook 3 minutes, whisking constantly. Slowly add milk and continue whisking until mixture boils and thickens.

In large mixing bowl combine roux, shallot, mayo, relish, capers, and 1/3 cup Panko. Gently fold in fish. Cover and chill 12 to 24 hours.

Divide mixture into 8 equal portions and shape into cylinders. Roll each croquette in egg, then coat with bread crumbs. Place on plate and chill at least 1 hour.

Heat vegetable oil in large deep-sided pot to 350 degrees or until a cube of bread browns in 30 seconds. Add croquettes to oil in small batches and fry 5 to 10 minutes, until golden brown and crisp. Remove from oil with slotted spoon and drain well on paper towels.

Serve croquettes hot with an aioli for dipping. For the aioli stir together ½ cup mayonnaise, a squeeze of lemon, a tablespoon of fresh parsley or mint, and a smashed garlic clove.

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