No matter what you’re craving, there’s a paleo hack for it in blogger Rachael Bryant’s new cookbook, Nourish. Deep-frying isn’t verboten, so take full advantage of that, sub mashed plantains for flour and crunch into these addictive sweet and salty croquettes.
Did you know that you can make the perfect croquette dough with just one ingredient and a little water? It’s true! This recipe makes a simple dough from mashed plantains. Instead of the traditional ham filling, here I’ve used salty pancetta and sweet red onion to contrast the soft, fluffy dough with crispy edges. This flavor combination is seriously good, but you could swap out the filling for other options.
- 12 ounces plantains (about 2)
- 1/4 cup water
- 4 ounces pancetta
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
- Coconut or avocado oil for frying
For the croquettes
Bring a pan of salted water to a boil. Cut each plantain in half, then use a knife to cut a slit lengthways along the ridges of the plantain skin. Peel off the skin and discard it, using a knife to remove any stubborn pieces, if needed. Cut each plantain in half again and carefully drop the plantain pieces into the boiling water. Cover the pan with a lid and cook until the plantains are tender, about 35 minutes.
Drain the cooked plantains and let them cool until they’re no longer releasing steam before adding them to the bowl of a food processor.
Pulse until the plantains are roughly mashed, then add the water. Process until a ball of dough is formed. Pinch some of the dough together with your fingers: If it sticks together, it’s ready to use. If it’s a little dry, add a little extra water a teaspoon at a time and process again.
While the plantains are boiling, make the filling. In a small skillet over medium heat, cook the pancetta until the fat is rendered and it just begins to crisp at the edges. Remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon and reserve for later.
Reduce the heat a little and add the diced red onion and rosemary to the skillet and cook in the rendered pancetta fat, until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Mix the softened onions with the pancetta and allow to cool slightly.
Divide the dough into 8 equally sized portions—using a ¼ cup scoop helps with this! Squeeze each portion of dough into a ball, then place it in a cupped hand. Use your other hand to flatten the ball into a round shape. Spoon a little of the pancetta filling into the middle of the flattened dough. Curl your hand around to start forming a ball, then pinch the edges of the dough together around the filling. Gently squeeze and press the filled dough into a round patty shape that is about 2½ inches (6 cm) wide.
Repeat for the remaining dough and filling until you have 8 finished croquettes. Fill a skillet with enough oil to come halfway up the height of the croquettes. Heat the oil to 350°F and carefully fry the croquettes in batches, flipping once, until each side is crispy and golden-brown, about 3-4 minutes per side.
Transfer the cooked croquettes to a paper towel–lined plate to soak up any excess oil, then eat immediately!