As you are strolling through the bustling Sicilian roads, you’ll likely encounter vendors selling warm, oval shaped potato croquettes. You can find them sold as is served inside a rolled newspaper or they may be served inside a tasty bun topped with sesame seeds. This dish is inspired by the French potato croquettes and were popular during the 17th century when potatoes arrived in Sicily and became very popular. It’s assumed its name derives from the Italian word “croccante” which means crunchy, referring to the crunchy outer layer. Today, you can recreate this classic Sicilian dish from the comfort your home. Made with yellow-fleshed potatoes, fresh parsley and extra virgin olive oil, in Palermo, these tasty potato croquettes are deep fried so they form a light crust enclosing the soft mashed potatoes. If you ever visit Sicily make sure you don’t miss out this staple street food.
2 medium-sized potatoes (preferably old potatoes with lots of starch and low moisture)
1 egg white
1/2 cup of Romano grated cheese
1/4 cup chopped parsley or mint leaves
1/2 tablespoon pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
The evening prior, wash the potatoes and leave the peel on. Boil the potatoes with the peel in salted water until they are soft. Place them in a colander and allow them to cool down until the morning after. Peel them and mash them with a potato masher until you obtain the consistency of mashed potatoes. It should be dense and pasty and not creamy. If too creamy, you can add a little bit of corn starch or rice starch. Add the egg white, the chopped parsley or chopped mint leaves, grated cheese and season with pepper. Pass some water on your hands and wipe off excess, leaving your hands humid, and form some oval shapes that are about 2 inches long. You may need to repeatedly wash your hands to not make them stick to your hands as you’re making them.Place on a dish and cover with a clean wash cloth and place in the refrigerator for about 3 hours. Fry in the extra virgin olive oil, about two at a time. The secret is to have the oil very hot so when you put them in, they will float and sizzle.