WIN­TER SQUASH CRO­QUETTES

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - JOE YO­NAN

One long-stand­ing piece of ad­vice for busy cooks — I’ve sug­gested it to read­ers many times my­self — is to get in the habit of cook­ing batches of build­ing-block in­gre­di­ents on the week­ends so you can more eas­ily make quick din­ners on week­nights.

A pil­lar of that strat­egy in my house­hold in­volves roast­ing pans. Ev­ery week­end I spend a few hours fill­ing them with var­i­ous sea­sonal vegetables, driz­zling with olive oil, salt and maybe a spice blend I’m into at the mo­ment and roast­ing the pro­duce un­til ten­der.

But I can al­ways use an­other idea. I got one in Pa­tri­cia Tan­u­mi­hardja’s new book, “Farm to Ta­ble Asian Se­crets” (Tut­tle, 2016). She em­ploys roasted win­ter squash — which I al­ways have around this time of year — plus potato and de­frosted frozen peas (check and check) to make cro­quettes, the crunchy bites so com­mon in Span­ish tapas restau­rants, among other places. You don’t have to start with al­ready-cooked vegetables, but it’ll go a lot more quickly if you do.

This recipe was adapted from “Farm to Ta­ble Asian Se­crets,” by Pa­tri­cia Tan­u­mi­hardja (Tut­tle, 2017).

Win­ter Squash Cro­quettes MAKES 2 TO 4 SERV­INGS (8 TO 10 CRO­QUETTES)

12 ounces win­ter squash (acorn, kabocha, but­ter­nut, del­i­cata or kuri) 12 ounces floury pota­toes, such as rus­set ¼ cup finely chopped shal­lot (from 1 large shal­lot lobe; may sub­sti­tute red onion) ¼ cup frozen/de­frosted green peas ½ tea­spoon fine sea salt, or more as needed ¼ tsp freshly ground black pep­per, or more as needed 3 ta­ble­spoons corn­starch 2 tbsp milk (may sub­sti­tute nondairy milk of your choice) 1 large egg (op­tional) ½ cup raw, hulled pump­kin seeds, coarsely ground (pepi­tas) ¼ cup panko (Ja­panese) bread crumbs ½ cup ketchup, prefer­ably low-sodium 2 tbsp chili sauce, such as harissa, sriracha or sam­bal oelek

Pre­heat the oven to 400 de­grees. Cut the squash in half, re­move the seeds, and cut into four to six wedges. Cut the pota­toes in half length­wise. Lay the squash and pota­toes, cut sides up, on a rimmed bak­ing sheet. Roast un­til ten­der, 40 to 45 min­utes. Let cool, but leave the oven on if you are roast­ing the cro­quettes im­me­di­ately af­ter as­sem­bling them.

Scoop out the vegetables’ flesh into a small bowl and dis­card the skins. Mash coarsely with a potato masher or fork. You should have about 1½ cups. Fold in the shal­lot, peas, salt and pep­per. Taste, and add more salt and pep­per as needed.

To as­sem­ble the cro­quettes, set up your work­sta­tion: place 2 ta­ble­spoons of the corn­starch in a small rimmed dish. Place the milk in a small bowl; whisk in the egg, if us­ing. Stir to­gether the ground pump­kin seeds and panko in a sep­a­rate small rimmed dish. Set out an­other plate to hold the as­sem­bled cro­quettes.

Di­vide the mashed veg­etable mix­ture into eight to 10 equal por­tions (golf ball size). Dust your hands with the re­main­ing ta­ble­spoon of corn­starch. Roll each por­tion into a ball, then coat each one in corn­starch, shak­ing to re­move ex­cess coat­ing. Dip a ball into the milk or egg-milk mix­ture, then coat it with the panko mix­ture, us­ing a fork to help you lift and turn it and press­ing as needed for com­plete cov­er­age. Re­peat to coat all the cro­quettes.

Use cook­ing oil spray to lightly grease the same bak­ing sheet. Spray the cro­quettes with cook­ing oil spray and ar­range them on the bak­ing sheet, spaced well apart; bake for 10 min­utes, un­til browned on the bot­tom. Roll them to an­other side and bake for four min­utes, un­til an­other side is browned. Con­tinue turn­ing and bak­ing two or three more times, each time for four min­utes, un­til crisped and golden all over.

Stir to­gether the ketchup and chili sauce in a bowl to cre­ate a dip­ping sauce.

Serve the cro­quettes warm or at room tem­per­a­ture, with the sauce.

Per serv­ing (based on 4): 280 calo­ries, 8 grams pro­tein, 45 g car­bo­hy­drates, 9 g fat, 2 g sat­u­rated fat, 0 mil­ligrams choles­terol, 380 mg sodium, 3 g di­etary fi­bre, 10 g sugar

GO­RAN KOSANOVIC, FOR THE WASH­ING­TON POST

Cro­quettes tra­di­tion­ally are fried — th­ese ones are baked.

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