Fabulous accompaniments to saucy meat dishes, like chicken cacciatore
1 pound russet potatoes
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons very finely minced onion
6 tablespoons very finely minced fresh parsley
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino Romano
freshly grated nutmeg to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 quart inexpensive olive oil for deep-frying
1 cup freshly made, well seasoned bread crumbs
1. Peel the potatoes, and boil them in salted water until just cooked.
2. Working over a large bowl, put the potatoes through a potato ricer. Immediately add the butter, and blend well with a fork. Beat 1 of the eggs, and add to the potatoes, blending well. Add the onion, parsley, extra-virgin olive oil, and pecorino Romano. Blend well. Add nutmeg to taste. Season extremely well with salt and pepper. Place mixture in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
3. When ready to cook croquettes, place the oil in a heavy pot for deep-frying (a wok works well). Over medium-high heat, bring the oil to 360 degrees. Break the other egg into a wide, shallow bowl. Spread out the bread crumbs in a second wide, shallow bowl. Divide the potato mixture into 8 pieces, and shape each piece with your hands into a small log, about 3 inches long and 1 inch thick. (Try to keep them nicely cylindrical, like small egg rolls.)
4. Dip each croquette in the beaten egg, then roll in the bread crumbs, making sure each croquette is coated well on all sides. Slip the croquettes, a few at a time, into the hot oil. Cook, turning occasionally so that the croquettes brown evenly, for 3 minutes. (They are done when they reach a deep, uniform, golden brown.) Drain on paper towels and serve immediately, sprinkled with salt if desired.
These golden-brown logs, rich with cheese-and-potato flavor, were staples in Italian-American restaurants of the fifties. They disappeared for a while, but are now making a comeback in restaurants that pay homage to the Italian-American cuisine of the good old days. They're fabulous accompaniments to saucy meat dishes, like chicken cacciatore; serve 2 to each diner. Make sure to season them well, using as much nutmeg, salt, and pepper as you can tolerate. Serves 8 as a side dish