May be many of you have already heard something about “Spanish ham croquettes” or even tried them?
“Croquettes” is a Spanish dish in the form of crispy balls deep-fried with béchamel sauce and various other fillings. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it?
This simple but tasty dish first appeared in France in the 18th and 19th centuries, and it became famous when a French chef named Marie Antoine Karem prepared this dish for the Prince Regent of England and the Russian Emperor Alexander I in 1817. After that, the recipe for these tender and at the same time crispy balls conquered many countries, but they have taken a special place in Spanish cuisine.
Today Spanish croquettes («las croquetas») is one of the most famous Spanish tapas, which can be found in any bar.
Spaniards diversified this dish, adding a variety of fillings to it.
The most traditional and classic croquetas are croquetas with jamon, but you can also find croquetas with cheese, mushrooms, chicken, crab, and the most unusual – croquetas with cuttlefish ink! Either way, this is a great dish to experiment with.
Let me tell you a little secret, in Spain people love to make croquettes from leftover food from other dishes. For example, do you have chicken left over after Christmas dinner, or there are mushrooms spoiling in the fridge? Make croquetas out of them! 🤩
Curious facts about croquetas:
- In many European countries, croquetas are not made from béchamel sauce, as in Spain, but from mashed potatoes.
- The word “croqueta” comes from the French word “croquette” which means “crispy”.
- This dish is so famous that there is even an «international day of croquetas», which is celebrated on January 16th.
- Since 2015, every year in Madrid, they have been organizing a competition for the best jamon croqueta, in which anyone can participate.
- Every year in Spain there is a competition for the best jamon croqueta, in which anyone can participate.
As you already understood, this dish occupies one of the important places in Spanish gastronomy. So, would you like to cook it?
Here you have the recipe of the best «croquetas de jamon»!
- 1 liter of milk
- 100 gr of flour
- 100 gr of butter
- 250 grams of Serrano ham
- Bread crumbs
How to cook:
- Let’s start with bechamel. First you need to fry the flour in butter over low heat. Stir the flour constantly to get a homogeneous mass.
- Then you need to slowly add warm milk to the flour, without ceasing to mix everything.
- When the bechamel becomes smooth and thick, we add spices to taste and pieces of ham and continue to cook over low heat for about 7-10 minutes.
- Transfer the finished béchamel sauce with ham to another container, cover with a foil and put it in the refrigerator for at least an hour so that the mixture cools completely.
- Now you need to form the balls. Take a little chilled dough and begin to form a croqueta, then roll it in an egg and breadcrumbs.
- Croquetas need to be fried in a lot of oil, as soon as they are covered with a golden crust, take out and spread on a paper towel, allowing excess oil to drain.
Some cooking tricks: 👉 For béchamel sauce, it is better to use whole milk and it must be warm. 👉 It is also better to sift the flour for the sauce, then you will avoid lumps and the mass will turn out even more tender. 👉 Eggs for breading must be beaten well, then the crispy crust will not crack when frying. 👉 Instead of jamon, you can add any filling you like, you just need to chop it finely.