Making the famous Spanish Croquetas yourself takes a little time and effort, but you will succeed without any special cooking knowledge and with only a few ingredients. The most important of these is patience.
The base of the Croquetas is a very thick, boiled down béchamel sauce – delicately seasoned with salt, white or black pepper (we choose white) and some freshly grated nutmeg.
Since we are making the classic ham croquettes, we also need Spanish Jamón Serrano, the air-dried Spanish ham that is available sliced thinly almost everywhere.
If you want to go a little fancier – as we do today – you can also use the more expensive Jamón Ibérico.
For the béchamel sauce we need some butter and flour.
Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat so that it doesn’t burn nor fully boil. At the same time, melt the butter over medium-high heat and sweat the chopped onions in it.
After a minute, we add the ham.
After about three to four minutes, the onions and ham have turned slightly translucent. Now we sprinkle the flour into the pan….
…mix everything thoroughly and sweat the mixture for another 5 minutes or so.
Then the hot milk is added – but not all at once. Instead, we add about a quarter of the milk at a time, stirring thoroughly and each time until the flour has combined with the liquid. Don’t be discouraged, when you cook a béchamel, it always starts as a sort of solid mush, which is gradually liquefied by the more milk. It is quite normal for the mixture to stick to your wooden spoon or whisk at first. The important thing is to work the milk in patiently and in stages.
This béchamel must now simmer gently for about 30 minutes, being stirred constantly, otherwise it will burn. You have to give yourself that much time.
Finally, season with a little salt, pepper and nutmeg.
While the sauce is cooling, line a baking tin with baking paper….
…fill the now lukewarm sauce into the mould and smooth it down…
…then cover the mass thoroughly so that no skin forms on it due to drying out.
Now we put the filling in the fridge for at least four hours, but preferably overnight.
After that, it is so firm that you can cut it into cubes.
Next, shape the cubes into balls on your work surface and roll them in flour so that they are covered all around.
Then, the balls need to be coated with egg, and that always makes for sticky fingers when it comes to breading. That’s why we crack our eggs into a pan….
…whisk the eggs and swirl our béchamel balls in it. That keeps our hands clean.
Now we spoon the balls onto a large plate with breadcrumbs and cover them all around.
Finally, the Croquetas need to be deep-fried. Here are a few tips on how to do that.
Floating in the hot oil, we fry four Croquetas at a time for about 3 – 4 minutes until they are golden. Carefully turn them over and over so that they brown evenly on all sides.
We wait a few minutes before eating, because fried food is extremely hot.
And may the taste be with you
Ingredients (for 24 pieces):
80 g Jamón Serrano or Jamón Iberico
1 medium onion
50 g butter
60 g flour for the filling
another approx. 60 g flour for the breading
800 ml milk
white or black pepper
approx. 60 g breadcrumbs
Frying vegetable fat or oil