Artichoke, walnut and feta croquettes

Artichoke croquettes

We don’t have cable in our house (conscious choice, cable companies! Don’t come calling.) But sometimes at work I can persuade my fellow restaurant patrons to watch the cooking channel. My favorite is Chopped. I can imagine a version at my house. Instead of gleaming counters and well-coiffed judges, you’d have tables full of school work and drawings and old bills, walls coated with little hand prints and globs of paint, and an elderly dog clattering through, bumping into everyone. And the challenge would be to look in my fridge, pick 2 leftovers packed away in plastic boxes, and make something special out of it. I’d win this round!! I had some leftover mashed potatoes, a half-used can of artichoke hearts, and a bit of extra sandwich bread on hand. What did I make? Lovely croquettes – crispy, flavorful and delicious. Croquettes can be a little stodgy, what with the bread and potatoes, so I wanted them to have bright flavor – something that would go well with feta and artichoke hearts. Hence the fennel and lemon. They turned out really nice! We ate them with a smooth roasted red pepper sauce (open jar of roasted peppers!), which the kids later happily ate on pasta for lunch.

Here’s Vaios Malliaras with Aginara (artichoke) Greek folk clarinet music from 1933. Odd and really lovely!

1/2 cup artichoke hearts – roughly chopped or briefly processed
2 slices whole wheat bread – processed into crumbs
1/2 cup mashed potatoes
1/2 cup walnuts, briefly processed or well-chopped
1/2 cup feta, crumbled
1/2 t oregano
1/2 t. fennel seeds – crushed
rind of half a lemon – microplaned
salt and plenty of black pepper
1 egg
olive oil for baking

Put the mashed potatoes in a bowl. Add everything else and mix well. Form into patties of any size you like. I did long and thin. I think they’re best if you do make them quite flat – they’re crispier all the way through. Coat a baking sheet with olive oil. Put the patties on the sheet. Brush the tops with a little more olive oil.

Bake at 425 (preheated) for about 20 – 25 minutes, till they’re brown and crispy. Carefully turn them over once or twice to make sure both sides become browned.

ROASTED RED SAUCE

1 T olive oil
1 clove garlic – minced
1 t basil
1 t rosemary
1/2 t smoked paprika
1 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
1 can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T butter
salt & plenty of pepper

Warm the olive oil. Add the garlic, basil and rosemary and cook for a minute or two. Add the peppers, tomatoes and paprika. Cook for about 10 minutes, till heated through. Add the vinegar and butter, and process (carefully!) till quite smooth. Season with salt and plenty of pepper.

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