Audra, a good friend of mine, gave me over a pound of smoked salmon from Norway the other day, which was very nice. However, it left me in a bit of a quandry. Not knowing whether it was frozen on the trip over from Norway, I didn’t want to (potentially) refreeze it. And, normally that much smoked salmon would last me a very long time. Then I thought, why not host an Oscar party and make it a salmon-themed party. With that in mind, I prepared these Japanese smoked salmon croquettes (korokke), along with Jacques Pepin’s salmon rillettes, salmon puff pastries and delicious smoked salmon on corn fritters I learned from the International Culinary Center in New York.
Croquettes or korokke are quite popular in Japan and can be found in many izakaya restaurants (a Japanese gastropub) here in the U.S. — well, at least in New York. Korokke are simply panko-crusted mashed potato cakes that have been deep- or pan-fried in oil. These croquettes can be mixed with beef, salmon, onions, or other ingredients and then served with a savory brown tonkatsu sauce (my favorite) and shredded cabbage. however, rather than tonkatsu sauce, you can also serve these with crème fraîche or mayonnaise mixed with some finely chopped scallions.
Tonkatsu sauce is a ubiquitous Japanese sweet-savory brown sauce that is served over fried dishes, rice and even omelettes. In actuality, it is made with a number of different vegetables, fruit and about 10 different spices, but the version below fills in as a quick substitute.
Smoked Salmon Croquettes (Korokke)
Makes about 24 small croquettes
For the Croquettes:
- 2 medium potatoes, yellow or russet
- 6 ounces smoked salmon, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
- 2 Tbsp. scallions, medium chopped
- 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, or to taste
- Dash white (or black) pepper, or to taste
- 1/4 cup flour, as needed to coat
- 2 large eggs, to coat
- 1/2 cup Panko (or ordinary breadcumbs), as needed to coat
- 3 Tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
For the Tonkatsu Sauce (quick version):
- 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tbsp. ketchup
- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- Peel and cube the potatoes and add to a pot of water. Add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are soft, testing with a fork (it should go through the cubes easily). Drain and let cool for about 5 minutes.
- When cool enough to handle, mash potatoes in a large bowl. Add chopped smoked salmon, scallions, mayonnaise and lemon juice, mix thoroughly.
- For appetizer-sized portions, scoop out enough mixture to form 1 1/4″ balls (rolling between the palms). Squash slightly to form patties about 5/8″ thick. If larger croquettes are preferred, form into 3″ patties. Refrigerate covered for a minimum of 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
- Fill three separate bowls with flour, beaten egg and panko bread crumbs. Coat the patties first with flour, patting off any excess flour, then coat with eggs and finally panko.
- Over medium heat, fry the croquettes in a pan well coated with oil for about two minutes per side.
- Serve with thinly shredded green cabbage and tonkatsu sauce or other sauce for dipping.