Crabmeat is deliciously sweet. Combined with creamy ricotta and wrapped in crisp panko crumbs, and these crab and ricotta croquettes are delectable. But dip them in the sweet, sour, and salty roast tomato ponzu, and you will be asking for more.
The crab and ricotta croquettes
While the word is French (derived from the word for “to crunch”), croquettes appear in many cuisines across Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
A 17th-century recipe for croquettes (croquets) by François Massialot binds a filling of meat, truffles, marrow, bread crumbs, and cheese with egg then breads and fries them in lard. They may be as large as an egg or as a walnut and can be served as an hors-d’œuvre or a garnish.Wikipedia
Whether served as an appetiser, a tapas dish, or finger food at a party, croquettes are a natural fit. Biting into one brings satisfaction, like comfort food. Of course, the filling needs to be delicious, and this crab and ricotta filling certainly is. Ricotta cheese is mild and creamy, yet has a firm texture. These characteristics make it the perfect host for the delicate sweet taste of the crab.
Many croquette recipes use a fine-grained breadcrumb or no breadcrumbs at all. For these crab and ricotta croquettes, we use panko breadcrumbs. That choice is essential. To complement such a creamy, delicate filling, we need a dipping sauce to accentuate the flavours. The big panko breadcrumbs ensure that lots of that dipping sauce adhere to the croquette on the way to your mouth.
The roast tomato ponzu dip
Ponzu is a versatile Japanese sauce commonly used for dipping, dressing, and as a marinade. It combines sweet mirin, soy, dashi, and citrus flavours. Hence, it is a little sweet, a little sour, and packed with umami from the soy, kombu and katsuobushi.
These Gyoza Variations are also served together with a ponzu dipping sauce. Like the croquettes, the gyoza’s delicate flavours get enhanced in a way that amplifies them without dominating.
To add another layer of sweet, sour, and umami flavour, the ponzu sauce for these crab and ricotta croquettes gets blended with slow-roasted tomatoes. Slow roasting tomatoes develops a sweetness and complexity not evident when the tomatoes are raw.
Crab and Ricotta Croquettes with Roast Tomato Ponzu Dip
Crab and ricotta croquettes
- 250 g riced/mashed potatoes start with 500g of a floury variety like Desiree
- 250 g ricotta cheese
- 300 g crab meat real and/or crab surimi, proportions depending on availability and budget
- 1 egg whisked for the filling
- 2 tsp shichimi togarashi Japanese 7 spice mix
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup flour for dusting
- 2 eggs whisked for the coating
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- Vegetable oil for frying
Crab and ricotta croquettes
- Bake potatoes skin on for 60 minutes at 180 degC.
- Halve the potatoes and scoop out the flesh.
- Pass the potato flesh through a potato ricer to mash. Alternatively, use a potato masher.
- If using real crab meat, pick it over to ensure there is no shell or cartilage.
- Break up any large pieces.
- Break up the crab surimi (if using) into similar sized pieces as the real crab.
- In a bowl combine the riced/mashed potato, crab, ricotta cheese, 1 whisked egg, shichimi togarashi, and salt and gently combine.
- Line a baking pan with baking paper.
- Spread the crab mixture out in the pan. Choose a pan that results in the crab mixture being 20-25mm deep.
- Place the pan in the freezer for an hour or two. We want it to become firm, but not freeze solid.
- Bring the frying oil up to 170 degC.
- Divide the mixture into 10 (????) pieces.
- Form into your desired croquette shape, dust with flour, dip in the egg, then into the panko crumbs.
- Fry in the oil until golden brown. Best to do only 2 or 3 at a time.
Roast tomato ponzu dip
- A few days before needing the ponzu, sterilise a glass jar and lid in boiling water.
- Add all the ingredients except the tomatoes to the jar and mix well. Add the lid.
- Allow to steep in the refrigerator for a couple of days or up to a week.
- Alternatively, if time is short, allow the ingredients to steep for an hour, then bring to a simmer in a saucepan. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- Drain the ponzu sauce through a fine strainer.
- Halve the tomatoes horizontally.
- Put on a baking tray and sprinkle with salt and pepper
- Roast in the oven at 130 degC for 1 hour
- Remove the skin and any hard stalk/core from the tomatoes
- Add tomatoes to the ponzu sauce and give it a quick blend using an immersion blender.
- Serve with some lettuce leaves for wrapping.