|croquetas in the making|
You will need:
- TIME - don't try to make these when you get home from work and dinner's in an hour. Or on Sunday, between church and family lunch. It just won't happen.
- 4 spoonfuls of olive oil (Spain doesn't really do exact measurements, so if you can't cook without your measuring cups, I suggest a nice Spanish red before you begin)
- about a quarter cup flour, or whatever it takes to make an oil-based béchamel sauce
- around a 1/4 litre whole milk
- around 350g chopped Serrano ham (the classic ingredient but not my personal favourite), or any other cooked meat, fish or seafood, boiled egg, or even cheese or vegetables (I suggest spinach or mushrooms). Really, you can use anything you like as long as it's cooked and not liquidy.
- an egg or two, beaten in a bowl
- a plateful of breadcrumbs or flour for dredging
- a glass baking dish (a square brownie pan should do it for this amount)
- a large pan
- plenty of olive oil in a deep pan for frying (or, better yet, a deep fryer!)
Once solid, cut the mixture into slices a couple inches long. I guess you could also scoop it out and make little balls, or cones, or whatever shape you want. Dip into the egg mixture and dredge in the breadcrumbs or flour. You now how one croquette ready for freezing or frying, congratulations! Now repeat until you finish your baking dish. I also watch Tall Guy do this part.
Now you can freeze them (use parchment to separate them, unless you want to fry an entire croquette mass when you take them out of the freezer), or fry them. To fry, heat the olive oil in the deep pan, or turn on your deep fryer. Once hot, add the croquettes a few at a time and fry until golden, about three minutes, a little longer from frozen.
Drain them on a paper towel (pan version) or in the deep fryer-basket, and serve hot or room temperature (I don't like them cold, but maybe you will...anything goes - either way, eat them that day).
And there you have it - an authentic Spanish croqueta recipe from start to finish. All you need now is a Tall Guy to make it for you...