These little beauties have a delightful crust and the softest of interiors, all the things you want in a deep-fried morsel. The mix can be a little soft and hard to shape but they are well worth it. They are very good as is but even better dipped in a little hot sauce.
Makes around 25 croquettes
Time 1 hour, plus 12 hours resting time
1.25L (2.6 pints) milk 200g (7 oz) cauliflower, broken into florets 2 tbsp whole black peppercorns 2 fresh bay leaves 175g (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter 1 large brown onion 165g (5.8 oz) plain flour 85g (3 oz) cornflour 200g (7 oz) soft fontina cheese, grated 2 eggs, beaten 200g (7 oz) breadcrumbs oil for deep-frying sea salt
Put the milk, cauliflower, peppercorns and bay leaves in a pot and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer until the cauliflower is just cooked but has not turned to mush.
Strain out the cauliflower, reserving the milk for the croquettes. Keep the milk warm while you allow the cauliflower to cool enough to handle, then chop the cauliflower roughly into small pieces.
In a clean saucepan, melt the butter over low heat, and sauté the onion until it’s softened but not at all browned.
Stir in the flour then, combining it well, then add the cornflour a little at a time until it forms a smooth, thick paste.
Now slowly stir in the warmed cauliflower-scented milk a little at a time. Once it’s combined, gently simmer the mix for approx. 30 minutes or until there’s no raw flour flavour, and the mix is thick and creamy.
Remove from the heat and add the chopped cauliflower and grated cheese. Season to taste with salt. Cool, cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, using floured hands, shape the mix into balls or ovals. When you’re ready to cook, bring oil for deep-frying to 180C / 350F, and place beaten egg in a bowl and the breadcrumbs on a plate.
Dip the croquettes into the beaten egg and then the breadcrumbs, then deep-fry in small batches for 2 or 3 minutes or until golden brown. Drain the croquettes well on absorbent paper, season with salt and serve hot.