Hot potato croquettes filled with smoked cheese

Hot potato croquettes filled with smoked cheese

Crocchè di patate

The Amalfi Coast
22-25 croque
Helen Cathcart

Pasqualina is the 80-year-old mother of the two owners of Il Pirata in Praiano. Every day she makes around 200 crocchè in this busy seafront restaurant. These are frequently served as part of an antipasto or as a snack with drinks. Instead of the bland frozen varieties I remember as a child, these croquettes are packed with flavour from the smoked cheese filling. They are rather moreish, so go easy or the snack becomes the meal.


Quantity Ingredient
500g floury potatoes such as maris piper
150g smoked cheese, such as scamorza affumicata or smoked cheddar
50g ham or cooked bacon, finely diced
50g parmesan or grana padano, finely grated
25g pecorino cheese, finely grated, (or more Parmesan/Grana Padano)
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
2 free-range eggs, separated
salt and freshly ground black pepper
sunflower oil, for deep-frying
150g breadcrumbs


  1. Boil the potatoes whole in their skins in plenty of salted water. This preserves the flavour and prevents the potatoes from becoming watery. Meanwhile, cut the scamorza into 3 x 1 cm rectangles (you will need about 25 pieces). Set aside.
  2. To check if the potatoes are done, poke the largest with a skewer or sharp knife: they should be tender inside. When there is no resistance, remove from the heat and drain. Hold the potatoes with a tea towel and peel off the skins using a sharp knife. Mash, preferably using a potato ricer, as this keeps the mash light and fluffy. Now use a large spoon or your hands to mix in the ham or bacon, finely grated cheeses, parsley, egg yolks and season to taste.
  3. Heat the oil so that it is ready for frying. Take a piece of mash the size of an egg and roll it into a ball. Put it into the palm of your hand and flatt’en. Place a rectangle of scamorza in the centre and fold the mash over to enclose it, making sure the cheese is completely covered. Repeat until all the mash is finished: you should have about 22-25 mini sausage-shaped croquett’es.
  4. Dip each crocchè into the egg white and then coat in the breadcrumbs. Fry in batches until golden brown and drain on kitchen paper. Serve immediately, while the cheese is still soft˜ inside.
The AmalfiCoast
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