Sunday, January 25, 2009

Burns Supper Hangover

You've just hosted a winning Burns Supper. But blast! You have enough tatties and neeps left over to feed the cast of Braveheart for a month! What to do? Consistent with the general Scottish feeling that deep-frying anything makes it better, a feeling not foreign to my American shores, I present:

Tattie and Neep Croquettes

  • a mixing bowl
  • a deep skillet or chicken fryer, ideally cast iron, like this
  • spoons and spatulas for mixing and cooking
  • some paper towels
  • (optional) a slotted spoon or spider

  • tatties
  • neeps
  • eggs
  • salt
  • pepper
  • oil or fat for deep frying
  • (optional) truffle oil

  1. If your skillet is cast iron, preheat it over medium heat.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix tatties and neeps, roughly 2 to 1. Add salt and pepper to taste. (And don't be afraid to taste.) If your tatties don't already have truffle oil in them, then for God's sake, add some! Add one beaten whole egg for each cup or two of vegetable. Mix well.
  3. Using your hands, form the mixture into croquettes. These can be very similar to Tater Tots (but are more expensive, because they sound French). You can also make them into small patties, which fry nicely.
  4. Spread the paper towels on a plate, ready to receive the croquettes when you are done frying them.
  5. Place the skillet on medium heat, and add your oil or fat, a couple of inches deep. (A word about your choice of frying fat. For the purist, I suppose rendered sheep fat would be the only option. For the rest of us, options include other animal fats, olive oil, clarified butter, and coconut oil.)
  6. When the oil is hot (which you can test by throwing a tiny bit of vegetable mixture into it and waiting for it to sizzle), gently put your croquettes into the pan, being mindful not to crowd them. If you have a lot of croquettes, or a smaller pan, do them in batches. Don't splash oil on your hands if you can help it.
  7. Carefully turn the croquettes every minute or so, until they are a nice golden-brown shade on all sides. Total cooking time will depend on the size of the croquettes, the heat of your stove, the moisture content of your vegetables, and too many other factors to list here. So keep your eye on them.
  8. Remove the croquettes from the oil (with the slotted spoon if you have one) and put them on the paper towel.
  9. (Repeat with subsequent batches, until you are done.)

Serve hot, warm, or cold, with fancy home-made mayonnaise and parsley.

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