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A dish traditional on the coastal area of Belgium, but although a fiddle (unless you can find 'picked' brown shrimps), is sure to impress your friends, as the croquettes will ooze out their shrimps when cut open.
For 6 helpings as a generous Starter:
2 lbs/1kg unpeeled small Brown Shrimps; or 1 lb/500gr picked Brown Shrimps, plus a further 1 lb/500gr unpeeled
½ lb/250gr Butter
4 oz/120gr Flour
¼ pint/150ml Dry White Wine
the Juice of 2 Lemons
2 leaves of gelatine (dissolved in the white wine) or enough to ½/ pint if following the instructions on a packet of powdered gelatine
a few grates of fresh Nutmeg and a little Salt
3 Eggs, lightly-beaten
Plenty of Breadcrumbs, fresh or bought-in dried
Equipment needed: a deep-fryer or solid deep saucepan + oil for deep frying
1. If you've bought unpeeled/unpicked shrimps, peel them, but keep the shells.
2. If you've bought picked shrimps plus the extra unpicked, boil the unpicked shrimps in about a pint/500ml of water for 5 minutes. Strain them, keeping the liquid and discard the shrimps (unless you want to eat them).
3. Melt the butter in a pan. Remove from the heat, then blend in the flour until you have a smooth mixture.
4. Slowly blend in ½ pint/300ml of the shrimp stock over a low heat, stirring constantly and bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for five minutes.
5. Remove from the heat and cool a little before adding the wine and gelatine mixture.
6. Add the lemon juice, grated nutmeg and a little salt.
7. Add the shrimp meat, then stir the mixture well, before chilling for several hours, until completely set and you are able to roll pieces into shapes between your hands.
8. Lightly beat the eggs and have them in one bowl, the breadcrumbs in another.
9. Take a tablespoon (15ml) of the shrimp mixture at a time and form these in croquette (corkscrew) shapes. Dip them in the egg, then roll them in the breadcrumbs.
10. Deep-fry them in hot oil – 200C/400F – until they're golden. You should have around 20 croquettes in all.
Serve, perhaps with a little mixed salad.