These croquettes are rich and luscious, with a crisp coating on the outside and a creamy filling of cauliflower and cashews within. Leftover cold croquettes make a great finger food for picnics; they go with almost anything such as cold soups, salads, and marinated pasta dishes.

SERVES 4

4 cups finely chopped cauliflower (not minced)

1 cup raw cashews

3 tablespoons butter

Вј cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached white flour

Вѕ cup milk

1 egg yolk plus 1 egg

ВЅ cup grated Parmesan cheese

ВЅ teaspoon salt

Liberal seasoning freshly ground pepper

1Вј cups Bread Crumbs

Oil

*If you cannot get raw cashews, you can substitute roasted, unsalted cashews, in which case you do not have to toast them.

  1. Steam the cauliflower until very tender, then put it into a large bowl to cool. (If you boil it be sure to drain it very well.)
  2. Toast the cashews in a 350В°F oven in a shallow dish such as a pie plate, stirring often until they are golden, about 10 minutes. Be careful not to burn them. With a large knife chop them into small pieces. (Do not put them in a blender or food processor; they will be chopped too fine.) Add to the cauliflower and mix.
  3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then whisk in the flour and cook this roux over low heat for 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Whisk in the milk and cook another 3 to 4 minutes, or until the mixture is very thick. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
  4. Beat in the egg yolk, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Scrape this mixture onto the cauliflower and cashews and stir until well mixed. Cover and chill until cold, at least 1 hour, and up to 24 hours.
  5. Lightly beat the egg in one bowl and put the bread crumbs into another. Form about Вј cup of the cauliflower mixture into an oblong shape about 2 inches by 3ВЅ inches. Don’t worry about its shape being perfect at this point; it will be easier to form once it is coated with the bread crumbs. Roll in the egg, then the bread crumbs. Repeat with the remaining mixture; you should get 12 croquettes. (They can be breaded up to 1 hour in advance and kept at room temperature. Don’t chill once they are breaded or moisture will collect and they won’t fry well.)
  6. Heat about Вј inch of oil in a large skillet until it is hot but not smoking. Fry the croquettes in batches until they are golden all over, then drain on paper towels. Serve immediately or keep hot in a 350В°F oven.

NOTE: Although I prefer them fried, you can bake the croquettes instead. Lightly grease a baking dish and place them in one layer. Bake in a 425В°F oven for 30 minutes, or until golden all over. Turn the croquettes over after the first 15 minutes.