Croquetas de Jamon

A delicious appetizer (maybe for your new years eve party?); a crisp outside and light and creamy filling. They need to be served immediately after cooking.

You can substitute the jamon for anything you like to flavour the béchamel. Try cooked chicken breast and cooked egg, chopped prawns, flaked cooked bacalao, wild mushrooms or grated well-flavoured cheese. Or maybe add some herbs. Or don’t make them Spanish style and fill them with something completely else.

The croquetas on the photo are slightly odd shaped. I was a bit impatient, I did not cool the mixture long enough, so it was quite impossible to handle. Normally, they are cork-shaped.

Croquetas2

Croquettas de Jamon (serves 8 as a tapas/makes about 24)
Adapted from “Rick Stein’s Spain”

85 g butter
115 g flour
500 ml full fat milk
100 g good quality thinly sliced Spanish air-dried ham (like jamon Iberico or jamon Serrano)
salt and pepper
flour, egg and breadcrumbs for crumbing
vegetable oil for deep-frying

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute, then gradually stir in the milk, little by little, so that you end up with a silky smooth béchamel sauce. Bring to the boil and cook gently for about 5 minutes while stirring to cook out the flour.
Stir through the jamon and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a bowl, then press some clingfilm on top. Place in the fridge for at least 6 hours (yes, really!) but ideally overnight, until really firm.
Take about 1.5 tbsp of the mixture and roll it into a cork-shaped barrel with lightly floured hands. Place on a large plate or something, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Take three shallow dishes, put some flour in the first, a whisked egg in the second and breadcrumbs in the third. Heat the oil for deep-frying to 190C. Take the croquetas from the fridge, cover with flour, coat in the egg and then dip into the breadcrumbs. Lower them in the hot oil and cook 2 minutes, or until lightly golden. Lift out and drain on kitchen paper, then serve immediately.

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