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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Potato Crocchette (Crocchette di Patata)

~Shaped like patties perfect for the home cook ~
~Shaped like the traditional crocchette in Naples~

Potato Crocchette (pronounced crow-kettay) is another example of good food being good enough! When my Mom first visited Naples in 1962 to marry my Father she was most impressed by all of the wonderful street food like these potato crocchette and being a North Jersey girl she already knew that street food was the best kind of food. When I arrived for my first visit in 2005 I was so excited about tasting all of these delightful street foods but was quickly disappointed to realize the street vendors were all gone. That was until my Zio explained to me that you can still get the same foods but now they are through the restaurants outdoor stands. These potato crocchette are traditionally served as a antipasti before the pizza in Neapolitan pizzerias. They are easy to prepare, you can whip them up for a snack in no time, and very economical since you can use left over mashed potato if you have any lying around in the fridge.
2 pounds baking potatoes (About 4 large)
3 eggs: separated
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 -2 teaspoon fresh parsley chopped fine
Italian seasoned bread crumbs
olive oil (1/2 inch to fry in)
optional fillings: chopped ham or salami and or grated mozzarella or provolone cheese
2 pie plates or other shallow bowls
Wash and pierce the potatoes and bake at 350 until soft, about an hour. Or peel and chop and boil until tender,15-20 minutes.
If you boiled them then just mash.
If you baked them you can peel and then mash or cut in half each potato and squeeze them through a ricer/food mill or peel and mash them by hand. This photo shows a ricer "ricing" the potatoes.
Add the salt, parsley, and cheese.
Beat the egg yolks and add them as well. Beat all of this together well, you can shape them now or cover and leave in the fridge for an hour or until ready to use.
Shape into patties, balls, or ovals each about 21/2-3 inches or so.
Beat the egg whites until foamy and light, pour into in a shallow bowl like a pie plate.
Put the bread crumbs into a separate pie plate..
Heat up a pan and then add enough oil to fry the crocchette in.
Dip them in the egg whites and coat. Then dip in the bread crumbs to coat. Shake off the extra crumbs before frying.
Allow these to sit out and dry for atleast 30 minutes before frying, they will hold up much better.
Fry until golden on each side, total frying time is 4 minutes, and then place on a rack to cool slightly or a paper towel.
Sprinkle a little salt on top of each one while still hot.
If you want to make several batches ahead of time place on a rack on a sheet pan in a very low oven until ready to serve.
Tips & Notes:
These are best served warm not cold or hot.
You can make these ahead of time and refrigerate on the rack then place the rack in the oven at 350 for a few minutes to reheat.
You can use left over mashed potatoes.
These are delicate so handle gently and use a small spatula to turn and serve.
This recipe cooks in 3 batches in a standard skillet but you may need to wipe it out and reapply oil after the first frying or else it may burn the little bread crumb bits.


Simona said...

My mother made really good crocchette and every time, my father would steal one still hot and burn his tongue. Every time. Does Chris do the same?

Ann Minard said...

So true Simona, my son is actually the culprit in my house though : )How did your Mom shape hers?