I grew some oyster plant, a/k/a salsify, a/k/a scorzonera, last fall and now that they’re ready, I decided to mash them with butter, a little milk and some thyme.
Then I decided to dip the mashed salsify in egg and panko breadcrumbs and fry it. Oh yeah! Let me tell you, this oyster plant croquette rocks. Soft and creamy in the middle and crunchy on the outside — what’s not to love?
If you have never eaten it, salsify (scorzonera is the black skinned version of basically the same plant; it’s what I grew.) doesn’t much taste like oysters to me, despite its common name. It tastes more like artichoke hearts to me — similar texture, similar warm flavor. A definitely worthy addition to a garden.
These croquettes are a two-step: A mash then a fry.
Serves 4 as a side
- 1 to 1 1/2 pounds salsify or scorzonera root
- A lemon
- 1/2 pound white potatoes (they must be white)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 cup milk or cream (NOT skim milk)
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
- 2 beaten eggs
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- Oil for frying (Canola, peanut or vegetable)
- Squeeze the lemon into a large bowl of cold water, and bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
- Peel the scorzonera (oyster plant, salsif…you know what I mean…) one at a time and put each root into the water. When you’re done, cut each root into short discs and put into the boiling water.
- Peel the potatoes, cut into pieces roughly the same size as the oyster plant and add them to the boiling water — this method ensures that both are soft at about the same time.
- Boil both veggies for 30 minutes or so; the salsify will take longer to soften than the potatoes.
- When they are ready, mash with the butter, thyme and a little of the milk or cream: You want the mash to be pretty solid, not super smooth or wet.
- Get enough oil to reach up about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch up the sides of a frying pan, and begin heating it to 350 degrees.
- When the mash is cool enough to handle, grab some and form it into fat discs. Dip into the egg mixture and then into the panko bread crumbs (you really do want panko breadcrumbs, which are very coarse; it’s a texture thing.) and BE GENTLE, as this is not a very solid mass. Slide the croquette gently into the hot oil.
- Fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes, then flip and cook the other side. When they’re all a lovely golden brown, drain the croquettes on a rack and serve at once.