Filled with savory ham, chicken, beef, veal, or vegetables — and often made creamy with a healthy helping of béchamel — croquetas have long been a popular plate, whether served on the Iberian peninsula or as far away as Indonesia.
At Bar Basque (839 Sixth Avenue), chef Yuhi Fujinaga has begun serving up a truffled take on the cylindrical snack: “The people in the Basque country use a lot of truffles. So with that in mind, I told myself: ‘Why not make an exotic and luxurious croqueta featuring mushrooms and truffles?’ It would have been easy to use freshly grated black truffles, but we don’t have that luxury all year round. So we use premium canned truffles — and also truffle butter — to make the roux for the truffled béchamel. There’s a trick: You have to watch out that the butter does not break the béchamel at the end. If you add the butter off the fire, the heat will carry over to emulsify the butter without breaking it.”
Wild Mushroom Croquetas
by chef Yuhi Fujinaga of Bar Basque
Assorted wild mushrooms (washed, chopped, and sautéed)
Black truffle butter
1/4 cup black truffle juice
1/8 cup black truffles (pieces or peelings)
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (save 1/4 cup for the roux, and keep the rest to bread the croquetas)
Slightly less than 1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup onion brunoise
2 quarts canola oil
6 eggs (cracked and whisked)
2 cups panko bread crumbs (blended finely in food processor)
In a nonreactive stainless-steel pot, combine onions, butter, and some salt to sweat the onions. Keep on low heat to cook slowly, so there’s no color. Once the onions are soft and cooked, add 1/4 cup of flour. Mix well. Add milk and black truffle juice to the mixture. Whisk well. Fold in mushrooms, black truffles, and black truffle butter away from the heat. Transfer into a stainless-steel baking pan to cool.
Once the mixture has cooled, use a tablespoon to quenelle the mixture onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Let the quenelles slightly freeze for a few minutes. At the semi-frozen stage, begin standard breading procedure — flour, egg wash, and then panko bread crumbs.
In a nonreactive stainless-steel pot, add canola oil. Heat to 350 degrees. Fry the croquetas until golden brown. Check with a toothpick or cake tester to see whether they are done.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 19, 2011