To celebrate Belgian National Day this weekend, and taking into account the result of the poll conducted a couple of weeks ago, I made shrimp croquettes last night for dinner. It was a bit of work, and it has to be done over a few hours, but the results were totally worth it. They were miles better than anything I’ve eaten in any restaurant in Belgium (and I’ve had my fair share). Hubby (who’s Belgian) said they were amongst the best he’s ever eaten. High praise indeed!
250g peeled North Sea shrimps
Salt and pepper
50g of grated cheese
250ml of stock
80ml of milk
Lots of bread crumbs* - I guess I used about 100g
So, melt the butter and mix with the flour in a pot. Add the stock bit by bit, mixing well to incorporate it between additions. Bring it to the boil and remove from the heat.
|The sauce. Thick.|
Stir in the grated cheese and the whole egg, together with a good helping of salt and pepper. The sauce should be very thick, but loosen it up a little with the milk. Finish it by mixing in the shrimp.
|The sauce with all the goodies in it. Still thick.|
Cool the mixture and then store it in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
A few hours before you’re going to cook the croquettes, wash your hands and take spoonfuls of the mixture, shape it as best you can with your hands. Dip it in the beaten egg and the breadcrumbs and put it on a plate. Keep going til all the mixture is used up – I got 11 large croquettes from all this.
|The croquettes, ready to go into the fridge for a bit of a snooze before being fried.|
Chill the mixture again for a few hours.
When it’s time to cook, plug your deep fat fryer in and heat it to 180°. When it’s hot, gently drop in the croquettes, one by one. You’ll need to cook these in batches. I was able to cook three at a time. Cook the croquettes for about 4-5 minutes, until brown on the outside. Drain them in kitchen paper when done.
Serve with a salad and some lemon wedges and parsley. And some Belgian beer of course.
If this sounds like too much work, why not try some Belgian stoemp (that's sausage and mash to you and me).
* I have never seen fresh breadcrumbs for sale here. I've seen dried breadcrumbs - chapelure - though. So, I make my own. Dead simple. Get some day-old bread and cut off the crusts. Cut it into small pieces and mix in a liquidiser for a few seconds. They freeze wonderfully too.
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