The exact history of corned beef is not certain but has been traced back to Ireland and England where beef was regularly salted for preservation from the Middle Ages onwards. There’s no denying the equally Jewish roots to corned beef either, with salted brisket sandwiches like the Rubens being particularly noteworthy.
Whoever claims to have invented corned beef (the word ‘corn’ comes from Old English meaning small particles or grains and probably refers to the salt crystals used in curing the beef) is irrelevant. Its use in cuisines as far reaching as Jamaica – no thanks in part to British colonialism – has seen it become a staple ingredient in many households, and still to this day it is used in military provision packs thanks to its long shelf life.
This recipe takes its cues from America – where corned beef in both settling Irish and Jewish communities grew into the popularity it enjoys today. Also coming our of America is the ‘dude food’ craze, popularising excessive foods that drip with cheese, are battered, deep fried, dipped, glazed, stacked, and generally contain meat, potatoes and grease. In abundance.
This recipe is pared right back while still satisfying that craving for something crumbed and fried and served with mayo. It’s also a great way to start using up the leftover corned beef if you’re following the meal plan.
CLICK HERE to see this recipe as part of a meal plan.
Makes: 8 croquettes
Prep time: 1 hour
400g cold mashed potato
200g corned beef
2 spring onions
2 slices wholemeal toast
Zest of 1 lemon
2 heaped dessert spoons of mayonnaise
2 soft boiled eggs
2 tsp capers
salt and pepper
Oil of your choice for frying (I recommend canola or vegetable)
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cold mashed potato, finely sliced spring onions and shredded corned beef. Form 8 individual croquettes and set aside.
To make the crumb, toast 2 slices of wholemeal bread and allow them to cool thoroughly before whizzing up into crumbs. Place the crumbs in a wide shallow bowl with the zest of one lemon and a pinch of salt. In a separate bowl crack one egg and whisk well.
Take each potato croquette, dip into the egg making sure it’s well coated, before rolling in the crumbs. Repeat with the other seven croquettes.
To make the sauce gribiche, soft boil two eggs (4 minutes), plunge them into iced water and allow to cool before peeling. In a small bowl combine the cooled chopped up egg, the mayonnaise, capers and two finely chopped gherkins. Mix well.
To cook the croquettes first take a heavy based frying pan and pour in the oil until it reaches about two thirds of the way up. Over a medium flame, heat the oil to 180 degrees C before gently placing in the croquettes and cooking them until golden and crispy. Depending on the size of your frying pan you’ll need to cook the croquettes in two batches.
Herbs in the crumb – dill, parsley, tarragon.
These would be delicious for breakfast with a poached egg.