The Art of Cooking: Italian Cocktail Hour

Anyone who has lived in Italy for a while will miss some things after their return home. For example the aperitif culture, which is celebrated all over Italy. To ensure that not just the Italians but also the rest of the world is able to mix a decent drink, my friend Marisa Huff, who runs the well-known Quadri restaurant in Venice, has written a book that brings Italian cocktail culture closer to us.

In Aperitivo Marisa not only tells us where the Italian tradition to meet on the piazza or in a beloved bar for a cold drink before dinner comes from, but also provides us a lot of recipes, so that we can bring a little dolce vita and Italian flair to the north.
Traditionally small things are served as aperitivi in Italy – for example, these lemon croquettes. Throwing away leftovers is one of the deadly sins in Italy. If you’ve ever had potatoes left over after dinner, these croquettes are the solution. A little fresh lime ensures that your guests will ask for it next time.

Lemon Potato Croquettes

(Serves six to eight)

INGREDIENTS: 4 cups mashed potatoes, two tsps grated Parmigiano Reggiano, two tsps lime juice, 1 tsp fresh lemon juice, good salt, freshly ground pepper, 1 cup flour, 2 large eggs, half a cup bread crumbs, oil for frying.

PREPARATION: Mix the mashed potatoes and Parmigiano with the lime, lemon juice and salt and pepper in a bowl. In a shallow bowl, mix flour, salt and some pepper. In a second shallow dish, mix the eggs with a teaspoonful of water. Put the bread crumbs in a third shallow dish. Make the mashed potatoes into rolls. Roll the rolls in the egg and then roll them in the bread crumbs. Heat the oil in a shallow pan. You can test whether the oil is hot by dropping in some bread crumbs. Fry the croquettes on all sides until they are golden brown, about one minute per roll, turning after thirty seconds. Briefly drain them on some kitchen towel and then serve.

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