Cauliflower cheese croquettes

Cauliflower cheese croquettes
  • Serves icon Makes 14-16
  • Time icon Hands-on time 40 min, oven time 20 min, plus chilling

We’ve turned cauliflower cheese into an impressive party canapé. Crunchy on the outside but soft and cheesy inside, these Spanish-style croquettes are easy to eat with a drink in hand. Cheers!

Nutrition: per serving

Calories
209kcals
Fat
14g (5.2g saturated)
Protein
7.1g
Carbohydrates
13.4g (3g sugars)
Fibre
1g
Salt
0.4g
Calories
209kcals
Fat
14g (5.2g saturated)
Protein
7.1g
Carbohydrates
13.4g (3g sugars)
Fibre
1g
Salt
0.4g

For 16

Ingredients

  • 1 cauliflower, cut into florets
  • Drizzle olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 500ml whole milk
  • 50g butter
  • 75g plain flour, plus extra to dust
  • 100g mature cheddar, grated
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp walnut oil
  • 2 large free-range eggs, beaten
  • 150g panko breadcrumbs
  • 30g parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), grated
  • 1 litre sunflower oil for frying

You’ll also need…

  • Digital thermometer (optional)

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Put the cauliflower florets in a roasting tin, drizzle with olive oil, add 1 bay leaf and season. Roast for 20 minutes. Whizz half the roasted cauliflower in a food processor (or in a bowl using a stick blender) with 150ml of the milk. Roughly chop the remaining florets and set aside.
  2. Warm the remaining milk and bay leaf in a saucepan for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and leave to infuse. Meanwhile, melt the butter in another saucepan and stir in the flour to make a roux. Cook for 3-4 minutes on a medium-high heat until it smells biscuity. Off the heat, gradually whisk in the milk to make a smooth sauce, then put back on a medium-high heat and cook, stirring, until the sauce comes to the boil and is smooth, thick and glossy.
  3. Pour the white sauce into a mixing bowl, then stir in the cheddar, nutmeg, spring onions, walnut oil, all the cauliflower and seasoning. Cool, then chill for 2 hours with cling film touching the surface to prevent a skin forming.
  4. Put the beaten eggs in one shallow bowl, then mix the breadcrumbs and parmesan in another shallow bowl. With floured hands, roll spoonfuls of the chilled mixture into cylinders, dip first into the egg, then roll in the cheesy breadcrumbs until coated. Set aside on a tray lined with non-stick baking paper.
  5. Put the sunflower oil in a large heavy-based pan and put over a medium heat until it reads 180°C on a digital thermometer (or turns a cube of bread golden in 30 seconds). Put a tray lined with kitchen paper near the hob. Fry the croquettes, in batches, for a couple of minutes until golden all over, then lift out with a slotted spoon and put onto the tray to drain. Serve straightaway.

delicious. tips

  1. If you like truffle flavour, replace some of the 2 tbsp walnut oil with a dash of truffle oil. It has a strong flavour so taste before adding more.
    The oil used for frying can be re-used. Save the plastic container. Let the oil cool, then pour through a coffee filter, return to the container and mark with the date and what you’ve used it for (especially important if you’ve been frying fish).

  2. A roux is a mixture of fat (usually butter but you could use olive oil, lard or any other oil or fat) and flour that’s mixed together and used to thicken sauces. Cooking the roux before using it to thicken a liquid stops the sauce having a raw, floury taste, 3-4 minutes of cooking should be enough. The roux is ready when it gives off a biscuity aroma.

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