Jan 12, 2015

Leftover brandade? Make croquettes!

Last week I posted the recipe to one of my favorite cod recipes, brandacujùn (a Ligurian shift on brandade) promising to follow it up with a leftover recycling solution.

If you've been following this blog for a while, you'll know how obsessed I am with not letting leftover food go to waste, and how it's traditional to re-employ yesterday's meals. This is such an important part of my Italian culture and upbringing, and it therefore plays a huge role in my cooking.

When I make excess amounts of risotto, in fact, I use the surplus to make Riso al Salto (a rice frittata) or Arancine (fried risotto balls). If remnants of my loaf of wholegrain bread were not all used up to make breadcrumbs, crostini or toast, I can transform them into bread pudding or Pappa al Pomodoro soup. Leftover meat (cooked and raw) goes straight into meatballs, and extra cheese becomes Frico.

Since when I make brandade I end up with lots of leftovers, my son can rely on his favorite snack: brandade croquettes. These are a great antipasto appetizer but can double as a sinful main course.

Leftover brandade, refrigerated
Oil for frying (I use olive oil, but you may prefer something "lighter" like peanut or sunflower oil)
50 g (1/4 cup) breadcrumbs
50 g (1/4 cup) polenta (cornmeal)
100 g all-purpose flour
1 tsp of dried rosemary
1 tsp of dried thyme
1 tsp of dried basil
1-2 eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper

Mix the dried herbs, cornmeal and the breadcrumbs, and proceed setting up your dredging station. Prepare three large bowls: one for the beaten egg(s) - quantity depends on how many croquettes you obtain from your leftovers; one with the flour, and one for the flavored breadcrumbs.

Take the leftover brandade out of the fridge and immediately shape into 5-cm (2-inch) bullets or quenelles. Roll them in the flour, quickly dip in the beaten egg, and lastly in the breadcrumbs to coat well. This procedure assures a golden, flavorsome crust and a soft, pillowy filling.

Work quickly with cold ingredients in order to produce a firm, crispier croquette, and fry in small batches – not more than 2-3 at a time – in plenty of hot vegetable oil until uniformly golden (about 3-4 minutes).

Blot on paper towel and serve immediately with aïoli or plain mayonnaise for dipping, if you like. As with all things fried, and in this case fish-based, I would suggest pairing this dish with a sparkling white, like Franciacorta.

Buon appetito!


  1. You are so right about Italians don't like waste. My papa would clean his plate so that it sparkled!! Of course he would use a piece of mamma's bread to use as a scarpetta. My parents would save string and the little twisty things that you find on bread. Living through the depression and WW II does that to the mindset. I love your recipe. Next Christmas I'll make more baccala and make this recipe -- although the grandsons are growing and they can go through food like locusts :-)

    1. Ciao and thanks for leaving your comment :)
      My mother does the same, she saves cling wrap if it's been used once and hasn't touched the food! LOL
      It does indeed come from growing up pre- or during WWII, and this trickles down in modern day habit too. I was raised learning how to recycle leftovers and I still swear by it to this day. As a matter of fact, I'm off to make meatballs now!

  2. These look wonderful. xo Catherine

    1. Thank you! And they are magic too: they disappear a few seconds after landing on the plate :)