Spanish Ham Croquettes
Croquetas de Jamón
Spanish Ham Croquettes are a common sight on bar counters and in homes across
Spain, served as a tapa, light lunch, or a dinner along with a salad. The jamon
serrano in this recipe could be replaced with chopped hard-boiled eggs, shredded
salt cod, minced shrimp, chopped chorizo, cheese, or just about any vegetable.
Start the preparation the previous day to allow the béchamel time to set. It
will make the mixture easier to handle when shaping the croquetas.
- Serves 6
- Difficulty: intermediate
- 2 tablespoons
olive oil, plus extra for deep-frying
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk, heated
- 3 ounces
jamón serrano or other dry-cured ham, finely chopped
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons fine dried bread crumbs
Lightly oil a shallow 8-inch square dish.
In a saucepan, heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil and the butter over medium
heat. When the butter has melted, add the flour and, using a wooden spoon or
whisk, mix well. Continue to stir or whisk for about 2 minutes, or until the
flour is well blended.
Add 1/2 cup of the milk and increase the heat to medium-high. Bring the
mixture to a boil and add the remaining cup of milk. Cook, stirring constantly
with the spoon or whisk, for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture begins to
thicken. Decrease the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly to prevent
lumps from forming, for about 10 minutes, or until thickened.
Add the jamon serrano, season lightly with salt (remember, the ham is already
salty), and stir until evenly distributed. Cook for 1 minute longer and then
pour the contents of the pan into the prepared dish. Spread the mixture evenly.
Let cool down for a bit and then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but
preferably overnight to allow the mixture to set.
Break the eggs into a bowl and beat ligthly until blended. Spread the bread
crumbs on a dinner plate. With 2 spoons, shape the béchamel-ham mixture into
walnut-sized croquettes. Roll each croquette in the bread crumbs, shaking off
any excess crumbs, and then dip into the beaten egg. Lift each croquette from
the egg and roll it again in the bread crumbs, coating it evenly. Lay the
croquettes in a single layer on a platter. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before
Pour the olive oil to a depth of about 2 inches into a wide, deep, heavy pot
and heat over high heat. When the oil is almost smoking, slip 5 or 6 croquettes
into the oil, pressing on them gently with a slotted spoon to submerge them, and
fry, turning them gently, for about 2 minutes, or until they are golden on all
sides. Using the slotted spoon, lift out the croquettes, holding them briefly
over the pot to allow the excess oil to drain, and transfer to an ovenproof
platter lined with paper towels to drain further. Keep the croquettes warm in a
low oven. Fry the rest of the croquettes in the same way, always making sure the
oil is very hot before adding more croquettes.
When all the croquettes are fried, arrange on a platter and serve
Region: Campo de Borja – Rating: 93 - 'spectacular'
COMPOSITION: 100% Garnacha
TASTING NOTES: “The estate’s mid-level effort is the fairly priced
Alto Moncayo. This wine is spectacular, and represents the perfect foil
for grilled steak. The 2003 Alto Moncayo (aged in new French and
American oak, and bottled unfiltered) boasts an inky/ruby/purple hue as
well as a sweet perfume of blackberries and toasty oak, an opulent,
fleshy, fruity palate, plenty of muscle and potency, and a long, heady,
silky finish. It should drink well for 6-10 years. 93 points.” ---
Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate
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