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Friday, April 15, 2011

Fish Burgers and Veggie Croquettes

The common theme with these two recipes is that if you make them ahead to freeze, they need to spend some time in the freezer firming up before you squash the daylights out of them with a vacusealer.  Vacusealing will keep them both much fresher-tasting, but they're prone to going completely out of round if they don't freeze pretty solid first.

The veggie croquette is one of my faves for its dual vegetarian main/side dish status, its repurposing of leftovers that usually won't get consumed and its general old-fashioned-ness.  In fact, the original recipe came from a WWII-era home economics textbook that belonged to my husband's grandmother.  Reading old cookbooks and trying out vintage recipes is as close as I get to liking history, but I must say that it is such an insightful history lesson to cook as women did in another time and place.  There's a moment of connection across generations when you realize that the face your husband made about Meatless Monday Rice Patties with Flourless Cheese Gravy is the same face somebody's husband made about the exact same dish in 1944.  But I digress...

Fish Burgers
Makes 6 servings
1 lb. mild white fish (perch, whiting, catfish, flounder, tilapia, trout, grouper)
1 egg
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped chives
1 tbsp lemon or lime juice
1 tbsp capers
2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Cut fish into pieces and remove skin, if possible.  Pulse fish in a food processor until very finely chopped.  Mix with remaining ingredients.  Shape into 6 patties and freeze on a tray until solid, then vacuseal.

To cook, thaw burgers.  Cook on a non-stick skillet sprayed with Pam or indoor grill pan 4-5 minutes per side, until cooked through. 

Veggie Croquettes
Makes 10 3" patties

2 cups cooked, finely chopped or mashed vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potato, peas, carrots are good choices)

3 tbsp butter + 4 tbsp flour (or 4 portions beurre manié)
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs + 2 tbsp water, whisked thoroughly
2 cups bread crumbs

Pulse vegetables in food processor if necessary to finely chop.  Melt butter (or beurre manié) in microwave for 30 seconds in  a 4-cup capacity microwave-safe bowl.  Whisk in flour until smooth.  Whisk in milk a little at a time until smooth.  Heat on high in microwave 2 minutes and whisk.  Mixture should be very thick.  Stir in vegetables and combine thoroughly. 

Shape into 3" patties.  Put bread crumbs in a shallow bowl and eggs in another.  Dredge each patty in breadcrumbs, then egg wash, then breadcrumbs.  Freeze patties on a tray until solid, then vacuseal.

To cook, heat 2 tbsp butter with 2 tbsp canola oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Fry frozen patties 3-5 minutes per side, until browned and heated through.

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