Every Spaniard promises that their mother makes the best ham croquettes. These creamy fritters are a staple of the Spanish tapas scene, and you'll find them on offer throughout the country. Luckily, they're easy enough to make at home too.
Croquetas de jamón (cured ham croquettes) are small, lightly breaded and fried bechamel fritters that include delicious Spanish cured ham. They are a sure hit as an appetizer or an afternoon snack with a glass of beer or wine. The best part is you can make the dough ahead of time and freeze it. Then, take the croquette dough out of the freezer, coat small fritters in breadcrumbs and pop them into the frying pan. If you have enough freezer space you can even freeze fully breaded and ready croquettes-- then you just have to fry!
See More: Tips for a Tapas Party
- 1/2 cup (100 milliliter) chicken broth
- 8 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 cup (107 grams) flour
- 1 1/2 cups (350 milliliter) milk
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- dash of ground pepper
- 1/2 cup very finely hand-minced ham
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten with 2 teaspoons water
- bread crumbs for coating
- Spanish olive oil for frying
- Tip: Make sure that the ham is very finely minced, so it can be mixed thoroughly with the dough.
- Tip: If the mixture is spread out in a thin layer on a flat dish, you will need to refrigerate it for less time. A large glass baking dish works well.
- Tip: If you prefer, you can use a deep fryer to fry the croquettes. Be sure not to over-cook them!
- Heat the 8 Tbsp olive oil in a small saucepan on medium heat. Add the flour and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Gradually add the milk and the chicken broth, stirring without stopping. This can take up to 30 minutes.
- Next, add the nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sauce is thickened and smooth.
- Add the minced ham and continue to cook for about 2-3 minutes on low heat, continuing to stir. Remove from heat. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes and refrigerate at least 3 hours until mixture is cold. If you are preparing a day or so ahead, you can cover the mixture tightly and keep refrigerated until you are ready to fry the croquettes.
- Pour the bread crumbs into a small, wide bowl. Beat the eggs with water in a small, wide bowl. Cover your hands in flour, then divide the mixture into 1-inch balls and set on a plate, so that they are not touching.
- Pour enough olive oil in a medium to large frying pan to cover 1/2 inch deep. Heat the olive oil for frying to about 355°F degrees.
- Dip the croquettes in the beaten egg and coat with crumbs by rolling in the bowl.
- Place the croquettes in the hot oil and fry quickly, turning several times, until golden.
- Remove the croquettes with a slotted spoon and set on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.
- Serve immediately. If croquettes will not be served immediately, place in a warm oven (200°F degrees) for up to 30 minutes.
If you want variety or simply do not eat ham, substitute 1/2 cup finely minced, cooked chicken for the ham.