Turkey + Mash Croquettes with Saffron Aïoli



A delightful blend of shredded turkey, smooth mashed potatoes and caramelized onions, these little breaded dumplings are made for dunking into a sun-yellow, garlicky mayonnaise. If you have extra sweet potatoes lying around, feel free to swap them in, or even add a little mashed Macomber turnip or rutabaga to the mix. And if you make the aïoli ahead of time, it’s heavenly on a toasted turkey sandwich with sharp cheddar, cranberry relish and Boston lettuce. Thanksgiving can’t come fast enough.

Serves 4

2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon saffron threads
½ clove garlic, grated
1 cup prepared mayonnaise (see Summer ’16 for a homemade mayo recipe)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a bowl, combine the lemon juice with the saffron threads and the garlic. Whisk and let sit for a few minutes until the saffron has “bloomed” and bled into the lemon. Add the mayonnaise and olive oil, whisk to combine, season with salt and pepper and taste; add a pinch of sugar if needed.

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 sprigs fresh thyme plus 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pinch sugar
2 cups shredded roasted turkey, finely minced
2 cups leftover mashed potato (or yams, rutabaga or other mashed root vegetable)
3 eggs
1 small bunch flat-leaf Italian parsley, finely minced
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups dried breadcrumbs
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Neutral oil, for frying
1 lemon, quartered, for serving
Hot sauce, optional, for serving

In a large skillet heat 2–3 tablespoons olive oil and add the onion and thyme. Season with salt and pepper and the pinch of sugar and cook slowly over medium-low heat until soft and caramelized, about 20–30 minutes. Remove from the pan and chop the onions finely.

In a large bowl, combine the caramelized onions, turkey, mashed potatoes, 2 beaten eggs, parsley and thyme leaves. Using your hands or a wooden spoon, mix well to evenly distribute the ingredients. If the mix is too wet, add a sprinkle of flour and mix again to incorporate.

Set up a breading station: 1 dish for the flour (seasoned with salt and pepper), 1 dish for the remaining egg, beaten, and 1 dish for the breadcrumbs and Parmigiano Reggiano. Have a parchment-lined baking sheet nearby to collect the croquettes as they’re made.

Using wet hands, make small football-shaped dumplings from the turkey-mash mixture and roll each 1 first in flour, then in egg, then in cheesy breadcrumbs. Place them 1 by 1 on the baking sheet, and when all the turkey-mash mix is used up, refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to firm up a bit.

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 200°F and heat ½ cup neutral oil in a shallow skillet (I like grapeseed oil for its high smoke point). When the oil is hot—test it by tossing a breadcrumb in; when it sizzles, the oil is ready—gently fry the croquettes in batches until golden brown, rolling them over as they crisp on all sides. Remove to the parchment- lined baking sheet when cooked and set them in the oven until all the croquettes are done.

Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon, the saffron aïoli and some hot sauce, if you like.

This story appeared in the Fall 2016 issue.