Croquetas are one of the most typical tapas dishes and make a perfect food choice for parties or game days. Croquetas are the staple of Spanish cuisine and are becoming very popular all over Europe and the USA. These appetizers are made from a stiff béchamel and are best when eaten hot. The crisp breadcrumb exterior and the molten center are what make croquetas so mouth-watering.
Croquetas come in a countless number of variations, and each one is even better than the other. The potato version seems to be bland and stodgy, and thus, everyone opts for a stiff béchamel. Hence, if you’ve been looking for the best croquetas recipes ever, you’re in the right place.
Croquetas recipes are all over the internet, but the best is hard to find. The one we will share today is one of the simplest traditional recipes.
How to Make the Perfect White Sauce
There are plenty of ways how to make béchamel, or commonly known as white sauce. It’s best to first simmer the milk with bay leaves and a short length of ham on a butter. Then, add it into a plain and cornflour roux with leeks and whisk. Cook and stir the white sauce for 40 minutes until it becomes thick.
The Best Way to Fry Croquetas
Before breading the croquetas mixture, make sure you flour your hands. However, if you want crisper croquetas, you can substitute the flour with Japanese panko breadcrumbs. Using the Japanese panko breadcrumbs won’t only make them with a more crunchy exterior, but also less greasy.
You can also add a little grated Manchego to the crumbs for a better flavor. When it comes to the frying process, you might be surprised to learn that it’s best to fry them in olive oil which has a complementary flavor. One bottle of olive oil (1l) would be enough.
The Best Croquetas Recipe
*This is a recipe for 15 croquetas
- 100g cured Spanish ham (in 1 chunk)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 60g butter (unsalted)
- ½ small leek (finely diced)
- 60g plain flour
- 500ml whole milk (hot)
- Nutmeg (to grate)
- 2 free-range eggs (beaten)
- 150g panko breadcrumbs
- 25g manchego or other hard cheese (finely grated)
- 1-litre olive oil (to fry)
First, start with the ham and dice it finely. Then, heat the oil and butter over medium heat. As soon as the butter melts, add the leek fry it for a minute, and add 70g ham. Cook them until the ham begins to melt and the leek softens.
Next, turn the heat down, gradually add the flour and stir regularly for about 8-10 minutes.
Then, stir in the hot milk and beat it until you get a smooth structure. Cook the mixture for 15 minutes, add the rest of the ham, and season with black pepper and grated nutmeg.
Transfer the white sauce to a bowl and let it cool down. Then, cover it with clingfilm to prevent skin and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Next, add beaten eggs, cheese and breadcrumbs into different bowls and roll the mixture with floured hands. Make sure the mixture looks like cylinders. Dip them in eggs and roll well in the breadcrumbs.
Heat the oil and when it begins to shimmer, add and fry the croquetas for several minutes at 180C. They need to get golden all over.