Tips and Direction for the Young Chef: Croquettes and More…

 

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(above is a cheese croquette served with a cherry tomato jam )

Dear young Cooks (by age, by soul, and by profession),

I am repeating myself in order to emphasize that you need to invest more in studying techniques and foundations, and less in recipes, and here is a wonderful example.

In many kitchens and at almost every level in leading gastronomic capital,many countries as their version and it can be found across the globe.

A “croquette” dish is on the menu in some ways and varieties. This is a food that is crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside and usually is a wonderful comfort food for all.; it’s name “croquette” is loosely translated from the French for “crispy.”

Almost every respected and known chef has offered his own version,You can find a great number of modern versions created by  well-known chefs, such as Andrea Faria from the late famous and outstanding restaurant El Bulli , and many other good ones.

 

I personally still believe a lot in the original method as a study case and as a great method to introduce croquettes to the young chef / cook, and actually, I want to share in this post two things with you:

In this short blog  i want to introduce  to a great  method of preparing croquettes, and the second is to show you how one of the cooks on our staff understood the technique and created from it something wonderful—all by knowing the technique but not a specific recipe.

 

The idea behind the croquette is the base :

A roux (a quick reminder a roux is a paste made by melting butter or fat  and incorporating overheat  into it flour ) and milk.

To be more precise:

200g butter

200g flour

1 liter milk

(the classic spicing is—salt, nutmeg, and white pepper)

 

notice that that this is very similar to Bechamel (the difference is that the Roux in Bechamel is 20% of the milk wight  and for the croquettes  its 40% of the milk wight )

In many cases, you can add flavor to the milk ( infusing in tt vegetables, herbs, etc…)

so to continue…

You melt the butter, add the flour, and cook it until it is a homogenous roux.

You add the milk. It is VERY important that the milk start to boil with the rest of the ingredients; without the boiling, the fats will not combine with the rest of the ingredients.

Generally, for every liter of liquid (in our case, milk) you boil for a minute.

This rigid batter is the croquette base.

For the prepared mass (the base ) you add different ingredients, allow it to cool, and from it create the shape.

In our kitchen, we pour it into a 2cm-deep mould and cut it into cubes or pipe it using a piping bag.

Now that i hope this is clear here are some variations:

For cheese croquettes, we add around 400g of cheese for every liter of milk (personally i like camembert and  )

For mushroom croquettes—a mixture of cheese and mushrooms, and so on…

For shrimps croquettes i infuse the milk with shrimp carcass or use a bisque base instead of milk.

You can also take it in a sweet direction by adding dates and sugar…

The basic coating is: flour,  beaten eggs, breadcrumbs, But here too you can prepare different breadcrumb mixes, or use almond crumbs, cheese, and more…

The moment you understand the basics, the sky’s the limit…think for a moment about confit of goose croquettes, smoked salmon, and more…exercise your imagination!

Rachel  a cook on my team understood the technique and had some leftover beetroot  puree from other preparations.

Understanding the basics led her to prepare beetroot croquettes stuffed with choose.

We simply  mixed the puree with the croquette base, added a bit of Roquefort cheese, and coated them with a mixture of breadcrumbs, parmesan, and herbs.

One point to finish up…treat the milk as a “liquid”!!! And then you’ll be able to prepare croquettes from broths, beer, water, chocolate milk, orange juice, and every other liquid that you can think of.

here are some photos of the process :

This was written while at work, during the morning service and the rest of the regular, daily challenges.

 

Thanks for reading,

 

Michael

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About michaelkatz1

שמי מיכאל כץ טבח במקצועי מאז 1991-לא מעט תפקידים עברתי בחיי בינהם מורה בבית הספר ״ קורדון בלו ״ באנגליה שם גיליתי כמה אני אוהב ללמד ולכוון את הדור הצעיר.
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One Response to Tips and Direction for the Young Chef: Croquettes and More…

  1. Pingback: Tips and Guidance for the Young Chef: Using Building Blocks—”Vichyssoise” Soup  | michaels blog-for the young chef

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