Just imagine this. In your hand is a small still-warm snack. Cheesy potato filling, all soft and warm, encased in a thin, crispy golden coating. You could even imagine it crowned with a glorious slick of mayo or aioli. We are. 'Cause it is a match made in heaven.
If you need help imagining this moment of snack bliss, scroll down. Take a look. We're pretty confident you'll want to eat one of these right now.
A croquette - a small fried ball of filling (sometimes with cheese, often not) encased in breadcrumbs - is one of the world's best snacks (and can be a cunning way to reinvent leftovers).
Here are six of our best.
Two ways with Paul West
On River Cottage Australia, Paul whips up a batch of bechamel and and pancetta (farm-made, of course) croquettes to feed a friend who's come over to help him build a fire pit.
If you want a meat-free version - or just a dead easy way to use up leftover mashed potato - we've got an online-exclusive recipe from Paul, for his cheesy potato croquettes:
No list of croquettes should be without a bacalao ball. Crisp on the outside, creamy on the inside, it’s no wonder croquetas are one of Spain’s most adored bar snacks. Salt cod (bacalao) is a favourite filling - you do need to start a day or two in advance so you can soad the salt cod, but these croquetas will make it worth your while.
Little golden balls of salt cod are not, of course, confined to Spain. This recipe from chef Guy Grossi uses panko crumbs for an extra crispy shell. Plan to start this one two days in advance.
These Nepali-style croquettes are a tasty snack to serve at parties. In this recipe, mashed potato is filled with spiced beef then rolled in breadcrumbs and deep-fried until golden. Serve with your choice of chutney or a spicy pickle – or both.
In the Netherlands you can find croquettes filled with just about everything. Here, chef Geert Elzinga shares one of his favourite recipes. Serve with mayonnaise, aïoli or tomato chutney.
This is more of a boundary pusher, but if you love squid this is your croquette.
These classic Dutch croquettes are usually made from slowly braised shredded beef, but these mince versions are delicious and will save you a lot of time. Accented with cheese, herb and curry (a nod to the Indomalayan influence in Dutch cookery), the three flavours look identical from the outside so it’s luck of the draw when choosing.
Shane’s deconstructed and modern interpretation of the Lebanese dish samke hara blends Arabic history with Asian and continental influences. You will need a cream gun to make the coriander sponge.