Pimiento-Cornmeal Croquettes

pimiento cornmeal croquettes
Photo: Justin Walker
Prep Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
4 hrs 15 mins
Yield:
36

Tender cooked cornmeal is amped up with rich store-bought pimiento cheese, then breaded and fried until crisp, golden, and irresistible. Each square is served with a dollop of scallion mayonnaise and a sprig of microgreens.

Ingredients

Scallion Mayonnaise

  • ½ cup mayonnaise

  • 4 scallions, minced (⅓ cup)

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Croquettes

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • ¾ cup medium- or coarse-ground cornmeal (not instant polenta)

  • 8 ounces store-bought pimiento cheese spread (1 cup)

  • ½ cup chopped cilantro

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 4 large eggs, whisked

  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs

  • Safflower oil, for frying

  • Radish microgreens or small cilantro leaves, for serving

Directions

  1. Scallion Mayonnaise: Stir together mayonnaise and scallions. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 3 days. (Makes 1/2 cup.)

  2. Croquettes: In a heavy pot, bring 4 cups water to a boil; add 1 teaspoon salt. Slowly stir in cornmeal in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until cornmeal is tender and has thickened, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cheese spread and chopped cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Pour mixture into an 8-by-8-inch straight-sided baking dish. Let cool completely, then refrigerate, covered, until firm, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.

  3. Turn cornmeal mixture out onto a cutting board. Slice into thirty-six 1 1/4-inch squares. Place flour, eggs, and panko in separate shallow dishes. A few at a time, coat squares in flour, shaking off excess; then dip in egg, letting excess drip off. Dredge all sides in breadcrumbs, patting to adhere.

  4. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat 1/2 inch of oil over medium-high until a few panko crumbs dropped in sizzle immediately. Working in batches, add squares to skillet and cook, turning occasionally, until all sides are golden and crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. (If browning too quickly, reduce heat.) Transfer squares to paper towels; season with salt. Serve with a dollop of scallion mayonnaise and garnished with greens; or let cool completely and freeze in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet, covered tightly with plastic wrap, up to 2 weeks.

Cook's Notes

To reheat from frozen, arrange croquettes on a parchment-lined baking sheet; bake at 400 degrees until heated through, about 15 minutes.

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