Over the years, Croquettes have been elevated from a comfort food snack or side dish to a standout feature dish, including being served as a gourmet canape in many high-end restaurants around the world. The transition from side dish to feature has also seen the ingredients chosen with greater importance, opting for premium alternatives to ensure the flavours transcend the palate with every mouthful.
Throughout my career as a chef, I made croquettes a thousand times (possibly more!), each time further improving and perfectly the dish, trying new variations every time I reviewed the recipe.
One of my family and my personal favourites, is using a base of potato with a combination of 3 marvellous cheeses – parmesan for saltiness and savoury nuttiness, cheddar for melting richness and blue for earthiness/umami taste. Deep frying creates a crispy coating that crunches into the soft, fluffy and rich centre on each bite. The cheeses are without a doubt the hero of the dish, which is why ensuring the premium quality and flavour of each cheese is a must.
In exploring and further refining the recipe, I wanted to explore the use of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) for deep frying. I have used EVOO in many dishes over the years such as dressings, sauces and roasting but not deep frying. Over the years I, along with many others were led to believe EVOO was not an optimal oil for frying. This belief extends to the hospitality industry and chefs alike, believing that you cannot cook with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
However, with further research through the Olive Wellness Institute, I have learned that this has no scientific substantiation. From the research, I learned that Extra Virgin Olive Oil is highly stable and resistant to breaking down and forming harmful compounds1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil was demonstrated to be the most stable oil when heated, followed closely by other virgin oils1. My reading on the Olive Wellness Institute website has also taught me about the health benefits associated with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, such as the high level of antioxidants2, which is a bonus for me as a chef.
So, what did I do?
With croquettes at the top of my mind, I took one of my favourite recipes and used light bodied Extra Virgin Olive Oil to deep fry. The results were simply outstanding. The slight nutty and peppery flavour of the EVOO enhanced the sensory components of this dish dramatically. The overall taste is all consuming, combining the delicate nuttiness with the decadent and rich flavours of the 3 cheeses.
The resulting golden colour and crispiness was perfect, and the finished product had minimal absorption of fat, allowing for a less greasy dish overall. To add a little zest to this recipe, I have accompanied the croquettes with a fresh basil pesto, adding a touch of sweetness, an herbal bouquet and complexity to the dish.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do, and I urge you to explore the world of deep frying with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. From me to you, happy frying!
Find my 3-cheese croquette recipe here: https://olivewellnessinstitute.org/recipes/3-cheese-potato-croquettes/
View article references
- de Alzaa F, Guillaume C, Ravetti L. Evaluation of Chemical and Physical Changes in Different Commercial Oils during Heating. Acta Scientific Nutritional Health. 2018;2(6): 02-11.
- Boskou D. Olive oil minor constituents and health. 2009. CRC Press: Florida.