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Crocodile Burgers with Pineapple Salsa and Sweet Potato Croquettes

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Crocodile is just one of the many unusual wild game meats which are becoming more accessible around the world due to advances in transport methods and packaging techniques. While many of these wild games taste very similar to one another, crocodile is an altogether different eating experience. I can not compare the flavor to anything else I have ever tasted but was surprised by how delicate the burgers were when removed from the packaging. When they were served, they were tender to the point of quite literally melting in the mouth.

Crocodile Burgers with Pineapple Salsa and Sweet Potato Croquettes
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Succukent crocodile burgers are served on bread rolls with pineapple salsa and served with homemade sweet potato croquettes

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 2 medium to large sweet potatoes
  • Salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic (1 for sweet potato mash and 1 for pineapple salsa)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro for sweet potato mash and 1 teaspoon for pineapple salsa
  • 2 rings of pineapple canned in own juice
  • ½ small red onion
  • 1 medium strength and size red chili
  • Juice of half a lime
  • ½ stick (2 ounces) butter
  • White pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup all purpose (plain) flour
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 4 crocodile burgers
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 4 soft bread rolls or burger buns

Directions

Sweet Potatoes ready for Boiling
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Peeled and chopped sweet potatoes are ready for boiling

Peel the sweet potato and chop in to moderately large chunks. Add to a large pot of salted cold water and put the pot on to a high heat until the water starts to simmer. Reduce the heat and maintain a simmer for fifteen to twenty minutes until the sweet potato pieces are just softened.

Pineapple Salsa Ingredients
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Pineapple salsa ingredients

While the sweet potato is simmering, you should prepare the pineapple salsa. This will allow plenty of time for the flavors to fully infuse. Finely dice the pineapple rings and peeled red onion half. Seed and finely chop the red chili.

Prepared Pineapple Salsa Ingredients added to Bowl
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Prepared pineapple salsa ingredients are added to a small bowl

Put the pineapple, red onion and chili in to a small stone or glass bowl. Squeeze in the lime juice. Peel the garlic clove and grate it in to the bowl with a small hand grater. Add the chopped cilantro, season with a little salt and stir well.

Pineapple Salsa
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Pineapple salsa ready for refrigerating

Cover the salsa with some plastic wrap and refrigerate until required.

Sweet Potatoes Left to Steam
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Sweet potatoes are left to steam off and dry out

Drain the sweet potatoes through a colander at your sink and return them to the empty pot. Leave them to sit for ten or even fifteen minutes to steam off and dry out. This is absolutely imperative as that steam represents moisture and if you don't get rid of it before mashing, the mash will be too wet to leave you any realistic chance of forming the croquettes.

Cilantro and Garlic added to Mashed Sweet Potato
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Cilantro and garlic added to sweet potato mash

When the steaming period has elapsed, add the butter to the pot and swirl the pot to melt it in what will still be the remaining residual heat. Mash with a hand masher. Add the tablespoon of cilantro and grate in the second peeled garlic clove. Season with a little white pepper, stir well and put the pot uncovered in to your fridge for two hours to further dry out and firm up the mixture. 

Ready to Quenelle Sweet Potato
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Preparing to quenelle sweet potato mash

When the sweet potato mash is chilled, it has to be quenelled in to croquette shapes. This is done with two similar spoons (I'm using dessert spoons) and the thirty second video immediately below demonstrates this process far better than it can be explained in the written word.

Quenelled Sweet Potato Mash
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Quenelled sweet potato mash

This quantity of mash should make around eight to ten croquettes. When the quenelles were formed, I carefully rounded them at both ends with the spoons to make them more cylindrical and evenly shaped. This will make for more even cooking later on. Put the plate of quenelles back in to the fridge for a further hour.

Starting to Breadcrumb Quenelled Sweet Potato
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Starting to breadcrumb sweet potato quenelles

You will need three flat bottomed bowls in order to breadcrumb the quenelles. Break the eggs in to one and lightly beat with a fork until just combined. Put the flour and the breadcrumbs in to the other two bowls.

This process is a little bit awkward so it's advisable to take your time, especially if you're new to the procedure. What you have to do - using the same two spoons as used earlier - is firstly roll each quanelle in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs.

Sweet Potato Croquettes ready for Deep Frying
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Sweet potato croquettes are ready for deep frying

Lay each breaded croquette on a large plate in preparation for deep frying.

Crocodile Burgers
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Pack of crocodile burgers

The crocodile burger packs gave a choice of cooking options but I thought they seemed so delicate, the least risk of them breaking up during cooking was represented by shallow frying them in a couple of small frying pans.

Starting to Fry Crocodile Burgers
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Starting to fry crocodile burgers

Pour a little oil in to a non-stick frying pan or pans and bring it up to a medium heat. Lay the burgers in the heated oil. The instructions on the packs was to fry for ten minutes, turning frequently. I wasn't happy with the way they looked after this time period and fried for fifteen minutes.

Fried Crocodile Burgers
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Crocodile burgers are cooked and ready to be rested

When the crocodile burgers are just about ready, put your deep fat fryer or a deep pan of oil on to reach a fairly high heat.

Lift the cooked burgers with a spatula to a heated plate and cover with aluminum foil to rest but keep warm.

Deep Frying Sweet Potato Croquettes
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Deep frying sweet potato croquettes

If you are using a deep frying pan or a small deep fryer, you will need to fry the croquettes in two batches. It is important not to overfill the pan not only for safety reasons but because you will reduce the mean temperature of the oil and cause the croquettes to become soggy rather than crisp and crunchy on the outside and fluffy and soft in the middle. The easiest way to get the delicate croquettes in to the pan is to ease each one in turn on to a metal slotted spoon with an ordinary spoon before carefully depositing in the hot oil. Fry for three or four minutes, turning occasionally.

Deep Fried Croquettes
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Deep fried croquettes are drained off on kitchen paper

Lift the deep fried croquettes to a plate covered with kitchen paper to drain off for a couple of minutes.

Crocodile Burgers on Rolls
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Crocodile burgers are laid on halved rolls

Cut the rolls in half horizontally and lay two on each plate. Lay a rested crocodile burger on the bottom half of each roll.

Pineapple Salsa is Spooned on to Burgers
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Pineapple salsa is spooned on to crocodile burgers

Take the pineapple salsa from the fridge and add a couple of teaspoons to each burger.

Eating Crocodile Burgers
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Tucking in to crocodile burgers and sweet potato croquettes

Close the rolls over, add the desired number of croquettes to each plate and serve.

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