A creamy bechamel sauce complements the sofrito’s heat in this savory dish perfect for shared breakfast, brunch, or dinner.
Author: Michelle Bernstein
- To prepare the Bacalao, soak Norwegian Bacalao in water inside a refrigerator for 2 days, changing water 3 times during soaking.
- After soaking, place Bacalao into a small pot with milk, garlic, thyme and rosemary. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove Bacalao from milk, discard milk and aromatics, and flake fish. Set aside until ready to make the croquetas.
- To make the Mashed Potatoes, peel potatoes and chop into 1-inch chunks. Place in a pot of salted water, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, about 15 minutes.
- Drain potatoes and mash until creamy, adding 2–4 tablespoons warm milk and 1 teaspoon butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm until ready to use.
- For the Sofrito, first remove stem and seeds from jalapeño, cut vegetables into ¼” dice and finely chop cilantro. Heat olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add onion, red pepper, tomato and jalapeño and saute until soft, about 4–5 minutes. Add cilantro and season Sofrito with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool to room temperature until ready to use.
- To make the Bechamel, melt butter in a small saucepan; stir in flour, stirring for 2–3 minutes. Whisk in milk and stir until the sauce becomes thick and creamy and there are no lumps of flour. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- For the Smoky Aioli, mix all aioli ingredients together; set aside until ready to serve.
- Make the Croquetas: Using a rubber spatula, fold together Mashed Potatoes, Bacalao and Bechamel until well-mixed. Add Sofrito and place into a refrigerator to cool the mixture completely. The colder the mixture, the easier the Croquetas will be to form.
- Place flour into one bowl, panko breadcrumbs into another, and break eggs into a third and whisk until homogenous. Line the bottom of a sheet tray with parchment or wax paper. Form balls of 1.5 to 2 teaspoons from the Bacalao–Mashed Potato mixture; make sure they are nice and tight. Use a scoop if you have one small enough.
- Dip one ball into flour, roll between your hands, then dunk into eggs. Use a slotted spoon to remove from eggs, and place into panko. Use your fingers to reroll the ball one more time, making sure it’s completely coated in panko. Transfer to the prepared sheet tray. Repeat this step for each ball, one at a time. Keep formed Croquetas in a refrigerator until ready to fry.
- Preheat a deep fryer to 350ºF, or fill a heavy-bottomed pot halfway with canola or grapeseed oil to use as a fryer and preheat to 350ºF.
- Fry 2–3 minutes or until golden and crispy. If the balls start to pop and you see filling oozing out, remove them.
- Season with a little salt while warm. Stir Smoky Aioli one more time just before drizzling atop freshly fried Croquetas, and serve.