With this festive tarragon croquette you will start your dinner with a great flavour explosion. The earthy and smoky flavours of the puree, matched with the bittersweet flavours of the tarragon. A delicious way to start a dinner party!
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
The croquette is potato-free, and made with a vegan bechamel sauce. Similar as the Spanish croquettes, but then veganised.
- plant based milk of choice (preferable non-sweetened)
- lap-sang smoky tea leaves, or liquid smoke
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- vegetable stock
- fresh tarragon
- lemon zest
- coconut oil or other high temperature frying oil
- preferred salad
This recipe looks like an amazing amount of work, but really it is all not that much work. You can prepare most of this dish in advance. It is basically just a tossed salad, with a mash topped with a croquette. And it is only the croquettes that require a bit more preparation and skill;
The main thing with the croquettes is the texture of the filling (the bechamel sauce). To make a good vegan bechamel sauce you just need a bit of patience, and don't mind to stir, stir and stir. Don't add too much of the liquid at the same time. Really only add little by little so that the liquid can nicely combine with the flour before you add another ladle of liquid. We don't like lumps in our bechamel.
The overnight cooling in the fridge is very important. This will make the bechamel sauce thick enough to make them into croquettes, by rolling them (twice) through breadcrumbs.
This is a very easy and simple vegan bechamel sauce, only made with flour, milk and stock, which works well with this particular recipe. Other vegan bechamel sauces can be made with cashew, like the one I used in my very delicious vegan moussaka.
To get the perfect flavour explosion, make sure to add enough tarragon and lemon zest to your filling.
These tarragon croquettes are a great festive starter to a dinner party, christmas dinner. Or if you don't mind a bit of prep work you could use the as party snacks!
💭 Extra tips & thoughts
In this recipe I have chosed to use lapsang tea, but you can create the smokiness with liquid smoke, or some smoky oils can add a beautiful smokiness to dishes these days.
I love the combination of celeriac with the smokiness. But of course you could use a potato puree as well in this recipe. Or try Jeruzalem artichokes or carrot puree. Interesting combi's!
The salad and fried onions is basically just to add some colour, and crunchiness. You could substitute those with others. Please let me know what your favourites are! Always interested to find out!
This is a very creative dish put together, with lots of options to change it into your own liking. Think of;
- spinach croquettes (add nutritional yeast for cheesiness)
- caramelized onion croquettes with carrot (or spiced carrot) puree
- Spicy croquettes with a sweet potato puree.
If you have created a good firm bechamel base, you can add any herbs, or flavours you like. Just keep in mind not to use ingredients which are too wet, or will release water while cooking. If you want to use any of these ingredients (like mushroom and spinach) make sure to prepare the ingredients beforehand and drain well before adding to the Base bechamel.
🍷 Wine pairing
There are definitely a lot of flavours going on here with this recipe. So this would need an aromatic, full flavoured, round and at the same time acidic white. My thoughts are going towards an Alsacian Riesling.
If you try this recipe, let me know what you think of it. Add @haricoco1 to your insta pictures. And share any creative thoughts.
For the celeriac puree
- ½ celeriac chopped in cubes
- 120 ml (½cup) plant based milk
- 2 tablespoons lapsang smoky tea leaves
- ½ tablespoon olive oil high quality
- salt and pepper to taste
For the croquettes (makes 6 to 8)
- 300 ml (1¼cup) plant based milk
- 60 ml (¼cup) vegetable stock
- 85 grams (¾cup) fresh tarragon chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ onion finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove finely chopped
- ½ lemon zest
- salt and pepper
For breading and frying
- 180 ml (¾cup) coconut oil or other temperature frying oil
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 220 ml (1cup) plant based milk
- salt and pepper
For the fried onions
- ½ onion sliced
- 3 tablespoons frying oil
- 2 cups any preferred salad
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper
For the vegan Bechamel sauce (1 night before)
- Combine the plant based milk and the vegetable stock and warm up in a small pot (warm, Not boiling)
- Heat the olive oil in another pot, and saute the finely chopped onion until softened. Add the finely chopped garlic and stir for 30 seconds.
- Add the flour, while passing it through a sieve. Stir the flour well, so it doesn't burn. Keep on stirring until the flour goes very lightly brown.
- Add a ladle full of the Milk & Stock mixture, and stir until well combined. Repeat this ladle per ladle until all the liquid is well combined and you reach a creamy bechamel texture without any lumps.
- Season with a salt and pepper to your liking, and leave to cool down a bit.
- Stir in the tarragon and lemon zest, and leave to cool down completely.
- Cover the sauce with plastic wrap, and leave in the fridge overnight.
Smoky celeriac puree (can be pre-made and reheated)
- Boil the chopped celeriac in water.
- Meanwhile, warm up the plant based milk, and add the lapsang tea leaves. Leave to infuse for 15 - 20 minutes while keeping the milk warm (not boiling).
- When the celeriac is cooked and well softened (check by pricking with a fork), drain and mash the celeriac with a little bit of olive oil and salt and pepper.
- Sieve the milk, and add to the puree. Mix well.
- If your puree has become to liquid, just heat it up and reduce to desired texture. If it is too thick, add some more milk.
- Keep aside, until almost ready for plating.
Salad with fried onions
- Wash your salad leaves, dry, and dress with just a little olive oil and salt and pepper.
- Heat the frying oil in a pan on medium heat and add the thinly sliced onion.
- Fry the onion until light golden brown.
- With a slotted spoon, spoon out the onion and leave to rest on a few layers of kitchen towel. This will drain most of the oil, and crisp up your onion. make sure your onion slices are well separated (otherwise the stick and won't get crunchy)
Breading and frying
- Take the chilled bechamel sauce out of the fridge.
- Prepare a working are with a bowl of milk and a bowl of breadcrumbs, mixed with salt and pepper.
- take a good tablespoon of the filling (bechamel sauce) and roll it in your hand into a log shape. Then roll in through the breadcrumbs, followed by the milk, and again another roll through the breadcrumbs.
- Do this with all the filling (bechamel sauce)
- Heat the oil in a frying pan, or wok. Fry the croquettes in batches (don't overcrowd the pan), Until they are golden brown on all sides.
- Remove them with a slotted spoon, and leave to rest on a paper towel lined plate or tray. Until they are all ready, and plating can begin.
- Mix the cooled and crunchy fried onion into your salad (keep a few separate for decoration). Layer a small layer of salad on your plate.
- Reheat the celeriac puree, and with the help of two spoons layer a heaped spoonful of puree on top of the salad.
- Take the prettiest croquette and layer that on the side onto the puree.
- Decorate with some of the crispy fried onion, and some tarragon leaves.
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