Tuna croquettes are a type of breaded food usually stuffed with a combination of minced tuna, onions, bread crumbs and egg. Various spices can be added to the croquette, depending on the desired taste and accompanying dishes. Originally, tuna croquettes were deep fried, but they have come to be pan fried or baked. Many countries have their own unique versions of tuna croquettes, but most retain the breaded and chopped fish aspect of the dish. These croquettes can be served with a dipping sauce or covered in a thick cream sauce.
The process of making tuna croquettes begins by mincing the ingredients into very fine pieces with a knife or blending them in a food processor. Pieces of bread or bread crumbs are soaked in a liquid such as milk, water or stock. The bread is added to the mixture along with an egg. Salt and pepper are added to taste, and the entire mixture is blended together thoroughly.
For the mixture to be thick enough to keep its shape during cooking, it is refrigerated for several hours or overnight. After it is set, the mixture can be formed into palm-sized balls, cylinders or patties. The shaped filling is coated in egg, rolled lightly in flour and then placed back in the egg until finally being coated in dry bread crumbs.
The tuna croquettes are then ready to be cooked. They can be deep fried in oil until the bread crumbs are golden brown, or they can be pan fried in a shallow layer of oil. A dry oven at a high temperature can be used as well. Whatever method is used, the result is a crisp outer shell of bread crumbs and a soft, moist interior.
When served, the tuna croquettes can be accompanied by a sauce. Many croquette dishes have a simple béchamel sauce drizzled over the top or placed on the side for dipping. In the case of tuna croquettes, lemon butter sauces can be used instead.
There are number of variations to the basic tuna croquette recipe. Mayonnaise can be added to the tuna mixture for added richness, or cayenne pepper can be added for heat. Green or red onions can be used instead of white onions, or the onions can be sautéed before being added to the filling.
Most recipes call for the addition of canned tuna that has been drained, although it is possible to use fresh tuna. When using fresh tuna, it is important to cook the steak first before mincing it. Certain grades of tuna can be eaten rare or raw, but uncooked tuna in a croquette might release water as it cooks and cause the croquette to fall apart.