Potato, Ham, and Piquillo Pepper Croquetas Recipe | Cook the Book

Caroline Russock

Some foods just don't lend themselves to reheating, and mashed potatoes are a prime example. Freshly whipped and studded with butter, they are creamy, airy, and pretty much perfect—but after a night in the chilly fridge, the once light spuds are reduced to the consistency of mortar and no amount of added warm cream and butter will bring them back to their original glory. How to deal with a leftover bowl of mashed potatoes? One simple way is to repurpose the spuds, making them into crisp Potato, Ham, and Piquillo Pepper Croquetas.

Adapted from Amanda Hesser's The Essential New York Times Cookbook, this Spanish accented croquette recipe came from Melissa Clark's A Good Appetite column. Inspired by a glut of leftover mashed potatoes from Thanksgiving, Clark mixed them up with little chunks of salty Serrano ham, smoked Spanish paprika, and sweet-spicy piquillo peppers. Rolled in flour, dipped in egg wash, and finally dusted in breadcrumbs, the little croquetas fry up with a beautifully crisp crust and soft, smoky centers filled with creamy potato dotted with diced ham and pepper.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Essential New York Times Cookbook to give away this week.

Reprinted from The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser. Compilation copyright (c) 2010 by The New York Times Company and Amanda Hesser. Recipes and reprinted text copyright (c) 2010 by The New York Times Company. Used with permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Recipe Facts



Total: 0 mins
Serves: 36 servings

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  • 3 cups seasoned mashed potatoes, chilled
  • 2 1/4 cups plain dry bread crumbs
  • 2 ounces Serrano ham cut into small dice (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup piquillo or roasted red peppers, cut into small dice
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika (pimentón)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Olive or vegetable oil for frying


  1. Combine the potatoes, 3/4 cup bread crumbs, the ham, pepper, 1 egg, the yolk, a pinch of salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and the paprika, in a large bowl. Mix well.

  2. Lightly beat the remaining 4 eggs in a wide shallow bowl. Place the remaining 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs in a second bowl, and the flour in a third. Season the bread crumbs with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

  3. Using about 2 tablespoons of the croqueta mixture for each, form it into 3-inch-long fingers. Dip each finger in the flour, tapping off the excess, then dip in the egg mixture, letting the excess drip off, and then in the bread crumbs. Transfer to a large baking sheet. When you have finished forming the croquetas, cover the tray with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, or overnight.

  4. When ready to fry, heat 1/4 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the croquetas in batches, turning once, until dark golden all over, 2 to 3 minutes a side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate and sprinkle with salt if desired. Serve hot.