Halibut and Caramelized Onion Croquettes with Fig Dijonnaise

by Kelly on October 13, 2011

Time for yet another tempting seafood appetizer. If you missed my Two-Bite Salmon en Croute with Figs and Caramelized Onion post, I’m working on creating appetizers using Alaska Seafood based on the flavors of the Grilled Salmon with Fig and Caramelized Onion Sauce I made last summer.  The resulting bites will be available for tasting at this year’s Foodbuzz Festival.

My goal was to make this second bite as different from the first as possible.  I played around with a lot of ideas in my head (including the fantastic suggestion of Duo Dishes to do a curried fish with a fig and onion chutney), but eventually I fell in love with the idea of making some croquettes.

Halibut and Caramelized Onion Croquettes with Fig Dijonaise-5

If you’ve never had one before, a croquette (also called a croqueta) is essentially a fried roll, disk, or ball with minced meat, seafood, or potatoes as its main ingredient.  They are one of my favorite things to order when I’m going out for Spanish tapas (A local restaurant called Cafe Ba Ba Reeba makes some amazing chicken and ham croquetas that I love.).  I loved the idea of making them because they are oh so crispy on the outside, warm, and indulgent, exactly what I think a good holiday appetizer should be.  Like my Two-Bite Salmon en Croute with Figs and Caramelized Onion it also makes for pretty filling, substantial bites so it’s perfect for parties where you intend for an assortment of appetizers to be your dinner for your guests.

My version involves poached, flaked Alaskan halibut with mashed yukon gold potatoes and caramelized onions.

Halibut and Caramelized Onion Croquettes with Fig Dijonaise-1The result is a croquette that is extra moist, slightly creamy and quite flavorful.  And when you roll it in panko bread crumbs…

Halibut and Caramelized Onion Croquettes with Fig Dijonaise-6and bake or fry it you get a perfect outer crunch to contrast the interior.

Halibut and Caramelized Onion Croquettes with Fig Dijonaise-3So what happened to the figs from the original dish?  I incorporated them into a Fig Dijonnaise, perfect for serving on the side or dolloping on top.  It has a delicious sweetness that pairs perfectly with the caramelized onions and a bit of lemon juice that adds brightness to the dish.  Overall I was very pleased with how this dish turned out.  I poached the fish using a cook it frozen technique and made the potatoes fresh, but you could always make this even easier by using leftover fish and mashed potatoes.  Just make sure  that you keep the flavors of the fish and potatoes neutral and that you don’t overcook them so the inside of the croquettes are tender and moist.

Halibut and Caramelized Onion Croquettes with Fig Dijonaise-4

Halibut and Caramelized Onion Croquettes with Fig Dijonnaise
Yields 24

-1 tablespoon olive oil
-2 cups sliced sweet onions
-2 cups peeled and cubed yukon gold potatoes (about 3 small potatoes)
-1/4 cup heavy cream
-2 tablespoons butter
-1 pound frozen halibut
-1/4 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
-1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
-1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
-1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon chopped flat leaf parsley
-1 egg, beaten
-1 teaspoon dijon mustard
-1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
-1 cup mayonnaise
-10 mission figs, rehydrated in boiling water and drained
-1 tablespoon dijon mustard
-1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
-Vegetable oil, if you choose to fry your croquettes


Swirl olive oil in bottom of medium nonstick skillet. Add onions and sprinkle in salt and pepper. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, about 10 minutes.

Remove cover and cook, stirring often, until onions are caramel in color, 30 minutes to an hour.

While onions are cooking, place the cubed potatoes in a dutch oven or medium sauce pan. Add water until potatoes are covered. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, 15-20 minutes, or until done – a fork can easily be poked through them.

Warm cream and melt butter, together, either in microwave or in a pan on the stove. Drain water from potatoes. Put hot potatoes into a large bowl. Add cream and melted butter. Use potato masher to mash potatoes until well mashed. Set aside.

Rinse out dutch oven or medium sauce pan and fill half full with water (you will want enough to cover the fish) and bring to a simmer over medium low heat. Rinse your fish under cold water to remove any ice glaze.

Once water has come to a simmer, turn off the heat and add the halibut fillets. Return heat to a simmer. You’re looking for your liquid to simmer, not boil. Simmer the halibut, covered, for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and let it remain covered in the pan for another 4-5 minutes or until the seafood is opaque throughout. Since you’ll be cooking the croquettes it’s important not to overcook the fish so the croquettes have a moist interior. Flake fish and add to the mashed potatoes along with the salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, parsley, egg, djion mustard, 1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs, and caramelized onions. Gently fold the mixture until well combined, being careful not to break the fish up too much.

Using a cookie scoop or your hands, roll the mixture into 24 balls, rolling each in the remaining panko bread crumbs before setting on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Set aside.

To make the Fig Dijonaise, add the mayonnaise through lemon juice to a food processor and process until smooth and well combined.

To cook the croquettes you have two options. Either bake them at 350 degrees F for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown. Or you may fry the croquettes. To do so, pour enough vegetable oil into a heavy-bottomed skillet to reach a depth of 1/4 inch. Heat the oil over medium heat, and fry the croquettes a few at a time, turning, until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and salt to taste. Repeat with the remaining croquettes. Transfer to a serving platter and serve warm with the Fig Dijonnaise.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Christy October 13, 2011 at 11:04 am

Looks lovely! Congrats on getting to present these at the festival–good news indeed.


Kelly October 13, 2011 at 11:28 am

Christy – Thank you. I was bummed to not be able to go last year and given that I just moved and had a lot of not so fun out of pocket costs associated with that, I assumed that going this year would be out of the question so I’m THRILLED for the opportunity.


shannon October 13, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Oh my!! I’m so excited by these, fabulous creation 🙂 Bummed I won’t be able to attend again this year :/


Hannah October 14, 2011 at 3:54 pm

What a creative appetizer! I would have never thought to pair these flavors together, but each little bite seems to just make so much sense when you describe it. I’ve had an idea for using marinated canned jackfruit to replace flaked fish like this, so now I want to finally try it out and incorporate it into your recipe!


Jacqueline October 14, 2011 at 5:31 pm

This looks really good!!! I will try it out next week. This is also the first time im reading your blog, liking it so far!! 🙂


Sues October 14, 2011 at 9:15 pm

This looks just awesome and I LOVE the idea of fig dijonnaise!


sophia October 15, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Oh man. I REALLy want to make that fig dijonnaise into a grilled sandwich.

Gah, I’m upset that I’m not going to the festival this year. I would have loved to meet you, Kelly!


Kelly October 16, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Shannon – I know. I had a blast with you there the first year.

Hannah – Thank you. I’m now becoming a bit obsessed with pairing caramelized onions and figs together. They really do work well together. I’ve been thinking of shaking it up a big and doing a caramelized onion vinaigrette over a salad with figs.

Jacqueline – Thank you! And thanks for commenting on the blog. I hope you will come back and check out more recipes and posts!

Sophia – Yeah it really is quite tasty. I have quite a bit hanging around still in the refrigerator and have been finding fun ways to use it up. I’ve been thinking I may have to make another batch once Thanksgiving rolls around because it would be so good with a post Turkey Day sandwich.


Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic October 16, 2011 at 4:04 pm

These sound like perfect little bites, especially with the fig dijonnaise! I’m actually trying to think now of when I can have people over so I can make these!


Kelly October 16, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Bianca – Thanks hun. I agree. I think the fig dijonnaise makes it. Figs or no figs it made me wonder why I don’t make dijonnaise more often.


Carolyn Jung October 17, 2011 at 11:57 pm

I love anything with figs. And these look like the perfect party appetizers.


Kerstin October 19, 2011 at 11:13 pm

Talk about the perfect app! I also love Cafe Ba Ba Reeba – we used to always go there for lab celebrations!


RebeccaC October 23, 2011 at 6:15 pm

I adore your creativity. Mom brain had totally sapped mine. Im a sucker for seafood and These sound incredible!


Dawnyc December 12, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Hi there, I love the sound of these. Thanks for the recipe. I’m planning to make soon and just wondering if you can make in advance up to the cooking part and store in the refridgerator until ready to cook. Also if you use fresh halibut will the poaching time be less. Any advice gratefully received. Many thanks in advance. D


Kelly December 13, 2012 at 1:13 am

Hi Dawn,

It all depends on how long you’re planning on making them ahead. I think a few hours ahead would be fine. For periods longer than that, they actually freeze really well and if you choose the baking method, they can be cooked straight from frozen, just add a few minutes to the cooking time.

If you are poaching a fresh filet I like these tips from Cooking for Engineers:

Your time should be less but of course you’ll want to account for thickness of the filet. So I usually watch it closely to check for doneness.


Dawnyc December 13, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Thank you so much for the quick and very informative response! That is so helpful to know and the link is very useful too. That all sounds perfect. I will report back on how they turn out. D


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