Sunday, June 16, 2013

Carmela Soprano's Panzerotti - Neopolitan Style Potato Croquettes

Happy Father's Day!

This is really it.
The last Soprano recipe.
And what a perfect ending.
The recipe for Panzerotti - Neopolitan Potato Croquettes - is from Junior's chapter The Soprano Family Tradition in Artie's The Sopranos Family Cookbook.

Panzerotti are a bit heavy.
But that's what an immigrant family wanted for dinner.
Something that made you feel full, like you'd really eaten something.
Also something that didn't cost too much to make.
But the memories of those family meals… priceless.

Ma never made potato croquettes. 
We had lots of potatoes - mashed, baked, boiled, fried, roasted. 
But no croquettes.  
Potatoes are a regular part of Maltese cuisine.
Malta produces more than enough potatoes and even exports them to Holland. 
Somehow we missed out on eating potato croquettes.

It's been an interesting time going through the two Soprano cookbooks.
Some recipes were an adventure in cooking.
Some recipes were just fun to read.
Some recipes were a stroll down memory lane.
But, all good things come to an end.
So, here's the final (Yes, I double checked) Soprano recipe.


Makes about 24

Place in a large heavy pot
6 large boiling potatoes
Add cold water to cover, cover the pan and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium and cook until tender, about 20 minutes.
When the potatoes are tender, peel and mash until very smooth.
Let cool slightly.

Stir in
3 large egg yolks
1 Cup grated Romano cheese (or Parmesan)
1/4 Cup very finely chopped salami (about 2 ounces)
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
pinch of ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

Spread on a sheet of wax paper
2 Cups plain dry bread crumbs

In a shallow bowl beat until frothy
3 large egg whites

Scoop out about 1/4 Cup of the potato mixture.
Form it into a sausage shape, 1 inch thick by 2 1/2 inches long.
Place it on a plate or a sheet of wax paper.
Repeat with the remaining potato mixture.

Dip the potato logs into the egg whites, then roll them in the bread crumbs.
Be sure to coat them completely.
Place the logs on a wire rack and let dry 15 to 30 minutes.

In a large heavy skillet pour
vegetable oil to a 1/2-inch depth
Heat over medium heat until a bread cube or a bit of the egg white will sizzle in the oil.  (If it's not hot enough, they won't fry crisply.)

Leaving about 1/2 inch between them and turning occasionally, fry the potato logs until they are evenly browned.
Place the panzerotti on paper towels to drain.
They can be kept warm in a 200ยบ oven while you fry the rest.

Would I make Panzerotti again?
Yes.  They reminded me of snacks we used to eat in New York.
During the 60s and 70s New York had street vendors who would sell all sorts of food.
The Panzerotti reminded me of the knishes we enjoyed as we strolled downtown.

One recipe down.  The end.

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