Stilton croquettes with walnut and celery mayonnaise

Makes about 20-25

You may well still have some stilton taking up room in your fridge or larder left over from Christmas, so this is a great way to use it up. You can make these croquettes smaller or larger, depending on if you want them snack-size or as a starter.

1kg large floury potatoes, peeled and quartered
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
150-200g stilton, rind removed and coarsely grated or chopped into small pieces
2tbsp chopped parsley
2-3tbsp plain flour
3 eggs, beaten
100g fresh white breadcrumbs
Vegetable or corn oil for frying

For the sauce

2tbsp good-quality mayonnaise
20-30g walnuts, lightly toasted and chopped
Half a stick of celery and some celery leaves, finely chopped

Put the potatoes in a pan, cover with cold water and a teaspoon of salt, bring to the boil and simmer until tender, then drain, return to the pan on a low heat for a minute or so to dry them out. Mash the potato through a potato ricer or as fine as you can with a masher then leave to cool. Once cool, mix in the stilton and parsley and season to taste.

You can mould the potato into a cylinder about the size of a 10p piece or just make odd shapes with a dessert spoon or little balls, then refrigerate them on a tray for a couple of hours to firm up. Have 3 dishes ready, one with seasoned flour, one with the beaten eggs and the third with the breadcrumbs and a tray for the finished croquettes. Carefully pass them through the flour, shaking off any excess, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs. Store in the fridge until required.

To serve, heat about 8cm of oil to 160-180C in a large, thick-bottomed saucepan or electric deep-fat fryer. Mix the mayonnaise, walnuts and celery together. Deep-fry the croquettes a few at a time until golden, moving them around in the oil as they are cooking with a slotted spoon, then transfer to a tray lined with kitchen paper. Serve with the sauce in a dipping pot or on the plate.

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