Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Plan B Croquettes and Green Goddess

Heather was hungry, and I had some chicken thighs in the fridge. Chicken these days isn't that tasty unless you get an expensive artisanal hand-raised bird, but in a pinch, I'll use supermarket chicken thighs, the only part of a modern commercial bird that still tastes like a chicken. Thighs are a nice balance of meat, skin and fat, and the knuckle of bone in there is why they have better flavor. Normally I like to brine chicken overnight before cooking it to improve the flavor, but there was no time for that. I put the oil on to heat and made a breading by mixing a little smoked paprika and vindaloo curry powder into rice flour and cornmeal, and added a little shredded coconut, which goes nicely with curry. I made an egg wash to dunk the chicken and bind the breading with a couple of eggs, Siracha, Worcestershire sauce and minced garlic. I set-up a breading station on the countertop and went to retrieve the chicken. Unfortunately the chicken was still frozen. I had moved it to the fridge from the freezer the day before, but it was still rock hard.

With the oil already getting hot I needed a plan B, so I decided to make croquettes. I quickly chopped some ham, salami, prosciutto, onion and parmigiano and loaded it into the food processor. I pulsed it dry for a while, then added the flavored egg wash and pulsed it to incorporate. I turned the mixture into a bowl, and added enough of the breading mix to give the croquette some body, then formed balls, dredged them in the coconut breading and fried them. The coconut darkened more than I would have liked, but otherwise they came out okay and tasted pretty good. If I hadn't started out on a chicken trajectory I would have put more thought into the croquettes, probably processing the meat finer and adding cream, yogurt, ricotta or another enrichening element, but for an emergency plan B they were fine.

They needed a sauce, but I didn't have anything prepared, so I made a mock-green-goddess dressing with some mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper, honey and chopped parsley and cilantro. I would have liked to include some tarragon, mint or basil, but I didn't have any. The dressing was okay if a little bland, but it kept the croquettes from being too dry, which was its main purpose anyway.

2 comments:

  1. my friend, sarah, used to be in a band called 'plan b'. i think there have been a lot of bands with that name. it's kind of passe. like jif.

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  2. You obviously have strong basis in cooking, you can create a thing, change your mind without it being a catastrophe... This is impossible without experience in cooking. Another thing is that you always seem to have a lot of ingredients ready to use. That means hours doing regular shopping. Cook is everything except a spontaneous process. You should tell us more about how you learned, anf in which way your job may help and influence the process - or not.

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