- Serves: 6
- Cook Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
- Prep Time: 45 minutes plus cooling time
- Effort: medium
- 150 g butter
- ¼ Spanish onions
- 150 g plain flour
- 1 pinches white pepper
- 1 pinches nutmeg
- 1.2 litres milk
- 100 g ham, jamon serrano
- 2 eggs
- 100 g breadcrumbs
- oil, for frying
1. On a wide bottom pan over a medium heat, melt the butter and fry the onion until transparent. Heat the milk so it is almost boiling and put to one side. Add the flour to the onion and cook for 5 minutes until the flour has toasted slightly. At this point, we need to start whisking in the milk slowly, forming a roux and dissolving this thick paste slowly by continually adding more milk. Keep doing this until you finish the milk and you have achieved a smooth and silky béchamel.
2. Once this has boiled, bring the heat down to a minimum and add the salt, white pepper powder, nutmeg powder and the thinly chopped Serrano ham and let it simmer for at least an hour, always whisking and ensuring it doesnt stick to the bottom of the pan. Taste the sauce and season if necessary. Pour and spread the béchamel onto a baking tray and let it cool down in the fridge until cold and solid.
3. To put together the croquetas we should have ready a bowl with flour, a bowl with a whisked egg, another bowl with the breadcrumbs and an empty plate. Start by cutting the solid béchamel into squares with a knife. Once you have all these pieces, roll each one in between your hands forming balls.
4. Coat each of the balls in flour, egg wash and finally breadcrumbs so they are nicely covered on the outside and reserve them on a plate until they are all ready to fry. Heat a mild Spanish olive oil in a small deep pot over a high heat until its very hot (180C). Check if the oil is ready by dropping in a breadcrumb, if it quickly fries that means the oil is ready, if not just wait a bit longer.
5. Carefully drop the croquetas one by one into the hot oil until golden and crispy (around 1 and a half minutes for each). Pat them dry over kitchen paper and enjoy the creaminess of the real Spanish ham croquetas.
Recipe by Omar Allibhoy, owner of Tapas Revolution Westfield and Bluewater and also the executive chef at El Pirata Detapas.
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