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Mushroom Croquetas

Photo: Thomas J. Story

Prep and Cook time 1 hr
Chill time 2 hrs, 30 mins
Yield

Makes about 25 croquetas (serving size: 1 croqueta)

Although you can fry these little fritters a few hours ahead and reheat them for 10 minutes in a 350° oven, they're crunchiest and taste freshest when deep-fried closer to serving. They'll retain their crunch and flavor for about an hour. Chef Ryan Pollnow, of San Francisco's Aatxe ("Ah-chay") restaurant, gave us the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces trimmed seasonal wild mushrooms or flavorful cultivated mushrooms such as shiitake, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons plus 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 ounces stemmed bunch (not baby) spinach, rinsed well, then dried (about 6 loosely packed cups)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • About 1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/3 cups flour, divided
  • Pinch of nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
  • Canola or other neutral oil for frying
  • 2 eggs, beaten lightly with 1 tbsp. water
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)

Nutrition Information

  • calories 88
  • caloriesfromfat 57 %
  • protein 2.1 g
  • fat 5.7 g
  • satfat 2 g
  • carbohydrate 24 g
  • fiber 7.2 g
  • sodium 100 mg
  • cholesterol 24 mg

How to Make It

  1. Make mushroom-spinach mixture: Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add mushrooms. Sauté, stirring often, until well browned, 7 minutes.

  2. Add 2 tsp. butter. When it foams and browns, add onion and garlic and cook until softened, 3 minutes. Add spinach and cook until it wilts evenly. Stir in vinegar and 1/4 tsp. salt, then spread on a plate and let cool. Put cooled mixture in a food processor and pulse to chop coarsely.

  3. Make béchamel sauce: Heat milk over medium heat or in a microwave until just steaming. Meanwhile, put 1/3 cup flour and remaining 1/4 cup butter in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until butter is almost melted. Cook roux, whisking, until it is pale gold and smells toasty, 3 to 4 minutes. Slowly whisk hot milk into roux to create a very thick paste. Stir in nutmeg and 1 tsp. salt.

  4. Remove from heat and fold in mushroom mixture. Season to taste with salt, scoop into a bowl, and press plastic wrap against surface to keep a skin from forming. Chill at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.

  5. Form the croquetas: Scoop out 2-tsp. portions from bowl and roll into balls (they should be about 1 in. diameter). Chill until firmed up, at least 20 minutes.

  6. Pour enough canola oil into a deep, wide pot so oil is 3 in. deep. Insert a deep-fry thermometer and heat oil to 350° over medium heat.

  7. Meanwhile, coat croquetas: Set out 3 shallow bowls. Fill the first with remaining 1 cup flour, the second with egg wash, and the third with panko. Working with a few balls at a time, roll first in flour, then in egg wash (use a slotted spoon to roll them over and lift them out), and last in panko, pressing to help crumbs adhere (balls should be well coated). Transfer to a plate as done.

  8. Using a metal slotted spoon, lower balls into oil. Fry in 2 batches until deep golden brown, about 5 minutes per batch, making sure oil temperature returns to 350° between batches. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt.

  9. Make ahead: Through step 5, up to 2 days, chilled; through step 6, up to 1 day, chilled; through step 8, up to 1 day, chilled.