This recipe comes to you straight from the Everything’s Better When Fried file. Our love affair with risotto croquettes (or, more plainly, risotto balls if you’d like to giggle; we always do) began on Kauai, another Hawaiian island we visited last year for my birthday. One of our favorite things about Kauai has always been the food—but, honestly, that’s probably what we’ll say about any trip. We’re eating our way across the globe here, people—and this visit was no exception. We always stop by Monico’s Taqueria for fresh fish tacos and carnitas nachos, and we always hit Art Café Hemingway for a decidedly European breakfast spread. After exhausting our usual haunts, however, we wanted to try something new for the big birthday dinner.
Beckie, ever the enterprising google sleuth, found a promising restaurant called BarAcuda in Hanalei on Kauai’s north shore. Hanalei also happens to be where Puff, the Magic Dragon, is from, so good on you, Hanalei. Despite its cutesy name (I guess people with blogs named Buttertooth shouldn’t throw stones), BarAcuda serves innovative takes on traditional cuisine using locally sourced ingredients. We ordered so many delicious small plates like local North Shore honeycomb and a duck breast in some kind of cherry sauce, but the one that really stood out in the haze of pink birthday wine and cupcakes was, of course, the risotto croquettes. BarAcuda served these morsels of fried risotto encasing melty cheese with a honey-truffle oil, and I could have eaten them all if Beckie and Micah hadn’t been aggressively defending their portions. Ugh.
Here we’ve re-created that dish using Beckie’s leftover champagne risotto. In my opinion, the only thing better than Beckie’s risotto is having enough risotto leftover that I get to eat some more the next day. Micah—whom I teasingly call Fry Daddy because he’s the only one who crisps my fish the way I like it. Sorry, babe—fried these up for our Friendsgiving last year, and his homage to BarAcuda was spot on. He served them with a similar honey-truffle sauce (recipe below), but I suspect they would be delicious with anything from your favorite mustard to a sauce of your own creation. Because it’s hard not to love deep-fried risotto.
- Vegetable oil, for deep frying
- 2½ cups cooled pre-prepared Champagne Risotto
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup grated parmesan
- 3 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
- ⅓ cup flour
- ⅓ cup breadcrumbs
- 4 ounces cubed melty cheese (mozzarella, gouda, fontina)
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Pre-heat oil over medium heat to 350 degrees F.
- Using your hands or a wooden spoon, stir one egg, risotto, grated parmesan, and fresh thyme in a large bowl, just until combined.
- Roll the risotto mixture into golfball sized balls, inserting a cube of cheese into the middle of each one.
- Roll each ball first into flour, then beaten egg, then breadcrumbs until coated.
- Refrigerate croquettes for 30 minutes to an hour to ensure firmness while frying.
- Carefully drop croquettes into heated oil (do not overcrowd) and cook just until browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the risotto croquettes onto a cookie sheet.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven for 10-15 minutes, just until heated through.
- Serve immediately with a salad to complete a meal, or as an appetizer drizzled with honey truffle oil (heat 2 tablespoons honey and ⅛ teaspoon white truffle oil in microwave until heated through).