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


Serves: 36

Ingredients

  • 1 clove
  • ¼ small onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 3 Tbsp. salted butter
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅛ tsp. ground white pepper
  • ⅛ tsp. nutmeg, freshly grated if possible
  • 1¾ cups shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg white
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 cups vegetable oil

Directions

  • Poke the clove into the quarter onion and place the onion and the bay leaf in a saucepan with the milk. Heat the milk over medium-high to scalding (not quite boiling) and then remove it from the heat. Let steep for 15 minutes, then remove and discard the onion and bay leaf.
  • Meanwhile, melt the butter in another saucepan, add ½ cup of flour, and cook over medium heat for a few minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. This will make a roux. Gradually add the hot milk to the roux on the heat and whisk with a wire whip for 1 minute to smooth out lumps. The roux will absorb the milk as it cooks and become a very thick béchamel sauce.
  • Remove the béchamel from the heat and stir in the white pepper, nutmeg, and cheeses with a wooden spoon. Beat in the egg yolk with a wooden spoon. Spread the mixture onto a plastic-lined baking sheet, cover the top surface directly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate it overnight.
  • Arrange a production line for coating the croquettes by putting the ½ cup flour on a plate, the egg white in a bowl, and the breadcrumbs on a plate. Add ¼ teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon vegetable oil to the egg white and whisk until it is 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 the flour, dip it in the egg whites, and roll it in the breadcrumbs. Place it on a tray and repeat with the remaining portions. Refrigerate until you are ready to fry them.
  • Put 2 cups vegetable oil in a deep pot or deep fryer and heat it to 375°F. Fry the croquettes in small batches for about 3 minutes, until they are golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.