Garnaalkroketten, croquettes de cervettes, or shrimp croquettes, are a Belgian culinary classic and are traditionally made with the indigenous North Sea common or brown shrimp (Crangon crangon) which is also the main ingredient in potted shrimp.
1 tbps butter
1 small onion, finely diced
1 small carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 stick of celery, finely diced
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
1 tbsp brandy
200g unpeeled brown shrimp
100g plain flour
150g dried breadcrumbs
2 eggs beaten
Oil for deep frying
1 bunch parsley
1 lemon cut into quarters
A couple of handfuls of your choice of small salad leaves
50g plain flour
400g peeled shrimps
pinch cayenne pepper
pinch grated nutmeg
Maldon salt & freshly ground pepper
3 sheets gelatine
Shrimp Bisque: Melt the butter in a saucepan over a moderate heat. When melted add the onion and sweat until tender and transparent. Add the carrots, celery, prawns and the cognac, set the cognac alight with a match and leave it until the flames disperse (this removes the alcohol content and bitter flavour). Stir in the tomato paste and water and bring it to the boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow it to cool slightly. Liquidise the mixture until you have a smooth paste. Sieve the mixture through a fine sieve and set aside. If preparing in advance place the bisque in a covered container in the refrigerator.
Filling: Place the gelatine leaves in a little cold water for 5-10 minutes. In a saucepan melt the butter and mix in the flour with a wooden spoon and cook the roux for a couple of minutes over a low heat. Slowly beat in the bisque and the water (you may wish to use a whisk so as to avoid lumps). Cook the mixture over a low heat stirring regularly, until it is fairly thick (3-5 minutes). Squeeze out the water from the gelatine and stir it into the mixture so that it is well distributed. Then stir in the prawns so that are distributed well. Pour the mixture out onto a plate or tray, which is covered in cling film ((the mixture should be at least 3 cm deep) and allow it to cool for 10-15 minutes. Cover the filling and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow it to set.
Croquettes: Remove the mixture from the fridge and lift it out of the container with the cling film. Cut the shrimp paste into 3 × 8cm rectangles so that you have 8 croquettes. Place the flour, bread crumbs and beaten eggs into three separate plates or trays. Coat the croquettes first in the flour, followed by the egg and lastly into the crumbs, so that they are covered on all sides. Place the croquettes in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes or until ready to cook.
To Cook: Heat the oil in a deep fryer to 190°C or until it reaches or until a cube of bread when placed in it floats to the top and is golden. Deep fry the croquettes for 3-5 minutes so that they are crisp and golden. Drain them on absorbent paper and keep warm until ready to serve. Deep fry the parsley until crisp (around 30 seconds) and drain on paper.
To Serve: Place 2 croquettes onto the centre of 4 plates, with a few salad leaves at the side, a wedge of lemon and deep fried parsley. Serve hot.
by Mike Dash
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