Deep fried gravy! This “Japanized” recipe begins with béchamel sauce, one of the basic French sauces called “meres” or “mother sauces” from which classic sauces derive. Corn and crab are added to the sauce, the mixture is chilled, shaped into barrels, and then fried crisp with a coating of panko crumbs. This recipe is absolutely delicious, but approach it with caution.
Béchamel is a smooth, white milk sauce made with a roux of flour and butter. Technically deep-fried gravy would be “deep-fried veloute,” but you get the idea of how tricky this recipe was to make. I made a beautiful béchamel sauce. Mine was perhaps a little thicker than the recipe because my three cats wanted a taste of the milk. I don’t usually drink milk so I bought only one pint. Once the mixture was congealed chilled, I attempted to shape it into dumplings.
The original directions say, “Put some flour into a shallow bowl; dust your palms with some of the flour, and pick up 1/3 cup of the mixture in a large spoon. Drop the mixture into a floured hand, and shape the mixture into a small barrel. Use the rest of the mixture to make fourteen more dumplings, dusting your palms with flour between each.” Right! A dusting of flour on your hands does not enable one to form “barrels” out of semi-viscous material! I’ve written revised instructions in the recipe.
serves 4 as a main dish
- 1/4 cup butter
NOTE: add another Tablespoon if I try this again.
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 1/4 cup all-purpost flour,
NOTE: add another Tablespoon if I try this again.
plus 1 cup (or more) for forming the croquettes
- 2 cups whole milk (minus 3 Tablespoons)
- 7 ounces crabmeat; or flaked canned salmon
- 7 ounces canned corn, drained; or chopped hard-boiled eggs
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs (finely crushed)
- Vegetable oil for deep frying
- Tonkatsu sauce
- Assorted salad greens
(or shredded cabage, potato salad, sliced tomato and cucumber)
• In a skillet, heat the butter until it is hot but not smoking. Add the onion, and cook it over medium-low heat, stirring, for 5 minutes.
• Add 1/4 cup of flour, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring.
• Stir in the milk a little at a time. Cook and stir until the mixture is smooth and thickened. Add the crabmeat and drained corn; and mix. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the mixture in a 9″ x 13″ pan to cool.
• Refrigerate the cooked mister, covered, for an hour. Chilling makes the mixture firm and easy to shape. I left that line from the original recipe because “easy” is not what this process was!
• Put some flour into a shallow bowl. Make cut-lines in the mixture to make 15 rectangles. With a silicon spatula pick up one portion of the mixture and plop it into the flour. Push flour up over the “dough” and shape in into a rounded lump. Carefully place the fragile croquette onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Don’t forget to flour the parchment—oops! Repeat, to make fourteen more dumplings, dusting your palms with flour between each. Refrigerate to cook later in the day. (or proceed directly)
•Put the beaten eggs, and the breadcrumbs into separate bowls. Dust each croquette with the flour again. Use two spatulas to dip each croquette, very quickly so they don’t dissolve, into the egg. Plop immediately into the panko, and gently press the crumbs over, under, and around the croquette. At this point, Ms. Shimbo says you can freeze the croquettes for another day. (I’m thinking that freezing them would be a very good idea.)
• In a skillet, heat 2 inches of vegetable oil to 360°F. Cook the croquettes, several at a time, until they are golden and crisp. If the oil is not hot enough, they will burst and absorb excess oil. Properly cooked croquettes are very crisp outside and juicy tender inside.
• Frozen croquettes should be cooked directly from the freezer—don’t thaw.
• Serve the croquettes with tonkatsu sauce or tomato ketchup in a saucer. Serve over salad greens or shredded cabage, potato salad, or sliced tomato and cucumber.
• Make small croquettes to serve in a salad, or as appetizers.
sauces as designated by Escoffier:
Béchamelle (white): milk thickened with roux
The thickness of the sauce depends on the proportion of flour and butter to milk. The proportions for a thin sauce would be 1 tablespoon each of butter and flour per 1 cup of milk; a medium sauce would use 2 tablespoons each of butter and flour; a thick sauce, 3 tablespoons each.
Veloute (blond): stock thickened with roux
It can be made from chicken, veal or fish stock. Enrichments such as egg yolks or cream are sometimes also added. Allemande Sauce – Veal veloute with egg yolk and cream liaison; Supreme Sauce – Chicken veloute reduced with heavy cream; Vin Blanc Sauce – Fish veloute with shallots, butter, and fines herbs.
Hollandaise (heated egg yolk and clarified butter)
Hollandaise is made with butter, egg yolks and lemon juice, usually in a double boiler to prevent overheating, and served warm. It is generally used to embellish vegetables, fish and egg dishes, such as the classic Eggs Benedict.
Espagnole (brown): meat stock made with browned roux, and mire poix
Herbs and sometimes tomato paste are sometimes added.
Tomato sauce (red): An interesting article and recipe
Additional Modern Sauces:
Mayonnaise (emusified oil and egg yolk)
This sauce is a thick, creamy dressing that’s an emulsion of vegetable oil, egg yolks, lemon juice or vinegar and seasonings. It is widely used as a spread, a dressing and as a sauce. It’s also used as the base for such mixtures as Tartar Sauce, Thousand Island Dressing, Aïoli, and Remoulade.
Vinaigrette (oil and vinegar)(usually 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar).
Variations include spices, herbs, shallots, onions, mustard, etc. It is generally used to dress salad greens and other cold vegetable, meat or fish dishes.
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