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SPAM™icotti Croquettes
Noni Davis, 1st Place Winner, 2nd Round, 2004 Great Island Style SPAM™ Cookoff

1 can Hormel SPAM™, any variety
2 8 oz packages Manicotti noodles
1 8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup green olives, chopped
1/2 cup onions, chopped
1 Tbs garlic, chopped or crushed
2 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp dried basil

2 Eggs
4 Tbs milk, cream or coconut milk
2 cups breadcrumbs
Vegetable oil for frying

Cook manicotti according to package directions, shortening recommended cooking time by two minutes. Drain, rinse well in cold water and set aside to cool. The cooked Manicotti is fragile so exercise extreme care in draining, rinsing and handling. Be prepared for up to 40% breakage and waste.

Coarse-grate or chop the SPAM™ to the approximate consistency of ground beef. Soften the cream cheese at room temperature or briefly in microwave oven. MIx all ingredients except the breadcrumbs, eggs and milk until well combined. With a sharp knife, square the ends of the manicotti noodles. Stand them on end on a cutting board and, using a small spoon or spatula, carefully stuff the noodles with the prepared SPAM™ mixture. Stuffed noodles should be firm, but don't overfill. Place the stuffed noodles on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer for 1 hour. Lightly beat the egg together with the milk and set aside.

With a sharp knife, carefully slice the cooled, stuffed noodles into 3/4 inch to 1-inch sections, 3 or 4 per noodle.

Dip the stuffed sections in the egg and milk mixture, one at a time, then coat thoroughly with the breadcrumbs. Heat the oil in a fryer or large heavy skillet to 375F and fry, 5 or 6 at a time, for 2 to 3 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and enjoy your appetizer as is, or with a dipping sauce of your choice.

Yield: Approximately 40 to 48 croquettes

Note: Cooking time for the noodles is critical. Overcooking will make them too fragile and impossible to handle properly. Undercooking will cause the croquettes to be tough . Cornbread, cracker meal, or seasoned breading may be substituted for the breadcrumbs.

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