Smoked Trout Croquettes with Beet Labneh

Smoked Trout Croquettes with Beet Labneh
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Well, I guess it’s time to call it – I am a croquette addict. I can’t stop making them, eating them, thinking about them. What I love best about them is their versatility. They can take on just about any flavor profile you care to impose on them. They have a place in multiple cuisines, so it is well within the limits of “authenticity” to use far-from-home flavors and ingredients. The croquette, croquetas, korokke, etc. is truly a blank canvas ripe for creativity and adventure. Okay, maybe I’m overselling the croquette as a whole. But I am confident I am not overselling these Smoked Trout Croquettes with Beet Labneh. These beauties are a bright spot in the already gleaming croquette genre. So let’s make them!

A quartered beet on a cutting board with shallots.

Before we start putting these puppies together, let’s talk about what they are. These croquettes are packed with buttery mashed potatoes and flakes of delicately smoked trout suspended in a thick lemon dill bechamel. The croquettes are then hand-rolled, breaded, and fried to golden perfection before being served atop a pool of vibrant beet labneh alongside shaved fennel kissed with lemon juice. The result is a bite that can only be described as “perfect”.

Beet puree and yogurt in a smoothie cup ready to be blended.
Beet labneh in a cheesecloth bundle dripping into a bowl.

Okay, we’re going to start by making the beet labneh. I bought pre-roasted and peeled beets. But if you would like to roast your own, check out this recipe for detailed instructions on how to do that. Take one large or two small roasted and peeled beets and cut them into quarters. Place the beet pieces in a food processor and add a clove of garlic and two shallots. Blitz until the mixture resembles mulch. To the beet mixture add some full-fat yogurt and salt. Blitz the mixture again until everything is well-mixed and smooth.

Peeled potatoes on a cutting board.

Now, for the time-consuming part. Line a bowl with two to three layers of cheesecloth and pour the yogurt mixture into the bowl. Gather the edges and corners of the cheesecloth together to form a bundle. Suspend the bundle over the sink or a bowl and leave it to drain for three hours. You can see why I wanted to get the labneh underway first.

Whisking milk into a roux in a large skillet.

With the labneh happily draining, let’s move on to the potatoes. Coarsely chop four large yellow-fleshed potatoes. You can peel your potatoes or leave the skins intact – it’s totally up to you. Cover the potatoes with cold water and place the pot over high heat. Once the water is boiling, liberally salt the water and continue to cook until the potatoes are very tender. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes.

Flaked smoked trout on top of a mashed potato mixture.

While the potatoes are boiling, we’re going to make a thick lemon dill bechamel. Pour a little oil into a skillet and add a few shallots sliced into half-moons. Sauté the shallots until softened then transfer them to a bowl and set them aside. Now, for the bechamel. Start by melting butter in a large skillet. Add flour to the butter and whisk to form a roux. Pour in a splash of white wine or dry vermouth and gradually whisk in some milk. Continue to whisk until the sauce is velvety smooth. Add Dijon mustard and salt and simmer until the sauce has thickened. Return the shallots to the skillet and add the dill and the juice of a lemon. Stir to combine and take the sauce off of the heat.

Flaked smoked trout on top of a mashed potato mixture.

Your potatoes should be done by now. Drain and place the potatoes in a large bowl. Add the bechamel and mash everything together until a cohesive mixture forms. Break the smoked trout fillet into small pieces and fold them into the potato mixture. Cover the croquette filling and chill for two hours or overnight.

Forming smoked trout croquettes using a tablespoon.
Frying the smoked trout croquettes

When the filling is set, it’s time to form the croquettes. Now, the filling can be hard to work with. I like it when there is a contrast between the interior and exterior of a croquette. The more extreme the better, so yes, the filling will be a little gooey when you’re rolling it into balls. That is by design. Don’t worry about forming the most perfectly shaped croquettes at this stage. You can refine their shape once we have the breading on. And speaking of breading, crack a few eggs into a bowl and beat them. Put some flour into another bowl and some panko breadcrumbs into another. Working with a croquette at a time, roll each in some flour before dunking it into the egg, and finally, coating it in the panko breadcrumbs. Repeat with the remaining croquettes.

Smoked Trout Croquettes with Beet Labneh

Now, it’s time to fry. Pour a few cups of neutral oil into a large heavy bottom pot. Heat the oil to 350°F and, working in batches, fry the croquettes until golden. Transfer them to a plate lined with a paper towel and set them aside to drain. Working quickly, shave half a fennel bulb very thinly on a mandoline. Pile the fennel into a bowl and add the juice of a lemon and a sprinkling of salt. Toss to coat.

Smoked Trout Croquettes with Beet Labneh

To serve, spread some of the beet labneh in the bottom of a bowl. Arrange two or three croquettes in the center of the labneh and top with the shaved fennel. Finish the dish with a few fennel fronds and serve immediately. And there you go, Smoked Trout Croquettes, an addictive and impressive appetizer or snack that will thrill dinner guests.

Enjoy!

Smoked Trout Croquettes with Beet Labneh

Smoked Trout Croquettes with Beet Labneh

These Smoked Trout Croquettes feature golden crispy orbs packed with flaked smoked trout, dill, and lemony buttery potatoes served on a bed of vibrant beet labneh with lemon-kissed fennel.
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Draining/Chilling Time 3 hours
Course Appetizer, Snack
Servings 26 croquettes

Equipment

  • 1 heavy bottom pot
  • 1 Large pot
  • 1 Food Processor

Ingredients
  

Beet Labneh

  • 1 large beet roasted and peeled
  • 2 shallots quartered
  • 1 clove garlic peeled
  • cup yogurt full-fat
  • 1 tsp salt

Smoked Trout Croquettes

  • 4 Yukon potatoes peeled and quartered
  • 3 shallots peeled and sliced into half-moons
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup + 3 tbsp all-purpose flour divided
  • ¼ cup white wine or dry vermouth
  • cup whole milk
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard heaping
  • ¼ cup fresh dill finely chopped
  • 1 lemons juiced
  • 350g (12oz) smoked trout flaked
  • 4 eggs beaten
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 4 cups neutral oil for frying

To Serve

  • ½ bulb fennel shaved
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 batch Beet Labneh see above
  • 1 batch Smoked Trout Croquettes see above
  • fennel fronds for sprinkling

Instructions
 

For the Labneh

  • Place the beet, shallots, and garlic in a food processor and blitz until the mixture resembles mulch. Add the yogurt and salt and blitz until smooth.
    1 large beet, 2 shallots, 1 clove garlic, 1½ cup yogurt, 1 tsp salt
  • Line a bowl with three layers of cheesecloth and pour in the yogurt mixture. Fold the cheesecloth into a bundle and suspend it over the sink or a bowl. Let drain for 3 hours.

For the Croquettes

  • Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover them with cold water. Place over high heat and bring the water to a boil. Liberally salt the water and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the potatoes are fork-tender.
    4 Yukon potatoes
  • While the potatoes are boiling, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the shallots and a generous pinch of salt. Reduce the heat to low and sauté the shallots until translucent. Transfer the shallots to a bowl and set them aside.
    3 shallots, 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Melt butter in the skillet and whisk in 3 tablespoons of the flour to form a roux. Slowly whisk into the white wine and the milk to form a smooth sauce. Add the salt and mustard and simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened.
    2 tbsp unsalted butter, 1 cup + 3 tbsp all-purpose flour, ¼ cup white wine or dry vermouth, 1½ cup whole milk, ¾ tsp salt, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • Return the shallots to the skillet and add the dill and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Take the sauce off of the heat and set it aside.
    ¼ cup fresh dill, 1 lemons
  • The potatoes should be tender by now. Drain them and place them in a large bowl. Add the bechamel and mash the two together. Fold the trout into the potato mixture and chill for 2 hours or overnight.
    350g (12oz) smoked trout
  • Using a tablespoon measure, form the potato mixture into a series of balls. ** Chill for 15 minutes before rolling the croquettes first in the remaining flour, then in the egg, and finally in the panko breadcrumbs.
    1 cup + 3 tbsp all-purpose flour, 4 eggs, 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • Pour the oil into a heavy bottom pot and heat it to 350°F. Working in batches of five or six, fry the croquettes until golden. Transfer them to a plate lined with a paper towel and set them aside to drain.
    4 cups neutral oil

To Assemble

  • Place the fennel in a large bowl. Add the remaining lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt. Toss to coat.
    ½ bulb fennel, 1 lemon
  • Spoon some of the labneh into the bottom of a bowl. Add 2-3 croquettes and top with the shaved fennel and fennel fronds. Serve immediately.
    1 batch Beet Labneh, 1 batch Smoked Trout Croquettes, fennel fronds

Notes

** The mixture will be a little gooey but don’t worry, it will be easier to refine the shape of your croquettes once they are breaded. 
Keyword beets, dill, potatoes, trout

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