Belgian Cheese Croquettes
These cheese fritters can be kept warm in a 250°F oven after they have been fried.
Serves: 36Hands-on: 1 hourTotal: 9 hours 15 minutesDifficulty: Medium
- 1 whole clove
- 1⁄4 small onion, peeled
- 3⁄4 cup whole milk
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 Tbsp. salted butter
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, divided
- 1⁄8 tsp. ground white pepper
- 1⁄8 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1 3⁄4 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg yolk
- 1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 egg white
- 1⁄4 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. vegetable oil plus 2 cups vegetable oil, divided
- 1 cup dry breadcrumbs
- Poke clove into onion quarter in a saucepan with milk and bay leaf. Heat over medium-high heat to scalding (not quite boiling) and then remove pan from the heat. Set aside to steep for 15 minutes, then remove and discard onion and bay leaf.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in another saucepan, add 1⁄2 cup flour, and cook over medium heat for a few minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. This will make a roux. Gradually add hot milk mixture to the roux and whisk for 1 minute to smooth out lumps. The roux will absorb the milk as it cooks and become a very thick béchamel sauce.
- Remove béchamel from heat and stir in white pepper, nutmeg, and cheeses with a wooden spoon. Beat in egg yolk. Spread the mixture onto a plastic-lined baking sheet, cover the top surface directly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
- Arrange a production line for coating the croquettes by putting remaining 1⁄2 cup flour on a plate, egg white in a bowl, and breadcrumbs on a plate. Add 1⁄4 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon vegetable oil to the egg white and whisk until frothy.
- Remove the plastic from the top of the croquette filling and cut the filling into 36 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball and then roll it in flour, dip it in egg whites, and roll it in breadcrumbs. Place croquette on a tray and repeat with the remaining portions.
- Heat remaining 2 cups vegetable oil to 375°F in a deep pot or deep fryer. Fry croquettes in small batches for about 3 minutes until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.