Spanish Ham Croquettes Croquetas de Jamón
Spanish Ham Croquettes are a common sight on bar counters and in homes across Spain, served as a tapa, light lunch, or a dinner along with a salad. The jamon serrano in this recipe could be replaced with chopped hard-boiled eggs, shredded salt cod, minced shrimp, chopped chorizo, cheese, or just about any vegetable.
Start the preparation the previous day to allow the béchamel time to set. It will make the mixture easier to handle when shaping the croquetas.
- Serves 6
- Difficulty: intermediate
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for deep-frying
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk, heated
- 3 ounces jamón serrano or other dry-cured ham, finely chopped
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons fine dried bread crumbs
Lightly oil a shallow 8-inch square dish.
In a saucepan, heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil and the butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the flour and, using a wooden spoon or whisk, mix well. Continue to stir or whisk for about 2 minutes, or until the flour is well blended.
Add 1/2 cup of the milk and increase the heat to medium-high. Bring the mixture to a boil and add the remaining cup of milk. Cook, stirring constantly with the spoon or whisk, for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture begins to thicken. Decrease the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly to prevent lumps from forming, for about 10 minutes, or until thickened.
Add the jamon serrano, season lightly with salt (remember, the ham is already salty), and stir until evenly distributed. Cook for 1 minute longer and then pour the contents of the pan into the prepared dish. Spread the mixture evenly. Let cool down for a bit and then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight to allow the mixture to set.
Break the eggs into a bowl and beat ligthly until blended. Spread the bread crumbs on a dinner plate. With 2 spoons, shape the béchamel-ham mixture into walnut-sized croquettes. Roll each croquette in the bread crumbs, shaking off any excess crumbs, and then dip into the beaten egg. Lift each croquette from the egg and roll it again in the bread crumbs, coating it evenly. Lay the croquettes in a single layer on a platter. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before frying.
Pour the olive oil to a depth of about 2 inches into a wide, deep, heavy pot and heat over high heat. When the oil is almost smoking, slip 5 or 6 croquettes into the oil, pressing on them gently with a slotted spoon to submerge them, and fry, turning them gently, for about 2 minutes, or until they are golden on all sides. Using the slotted spoon, lift out the croquettes, holding them briefly over the pot to allow the excess oil to drain, and transfer to an ovenproof platter lined with paper towels to drain further. Keep the croquettes warm in a low oven. Fry the rest of the croquettes in the same way, always making sure the oil is very hot before adding more croquettes.
When all the croquettes are fried, arrange on a platter and serve immediately.
When our family invites friends over, it is fun to offer some nice bottles of Spanish wine to share and sample! Over the years, certain bodegas and varietals have become our go-to, everyday favorites. We put them together in this collection, a tour of Spain's classic wines to share with your family and friends!
Just as each of your guests is unique, we wanted this wine sampler to represent some of Spain's finest styles. And with six new wines to discover, you are sure to find a vintage to please every palate.
The following wines are included in this wine sampler:
- Pazo de Valei (Galicia - Albariño): Cool, misty Atlantic air rolls across the Galician countryside, making for one of the best white wine regions in all of Spain: Rias Baixas. Silky pale yellow with hues of green and gold, you’ll taste echoes of pear, peach and apple with every sip of this crisp Albariño. With a heaping bounty of seafood, this wine is a natural partner but it pairs equally well with an array of delicious tapas.
- Lar de Paula (Rioja): This white Rioja spends one hundred days in French and American Oak. Meticulously made by a family-owned winery in the heart of Rioja Alavesa, Lar de Paula presents unexpected white wine nuances and pairs beautifully with rich, hearty foods. Clean and bright with a pale yellow color, the taste is floral and elegant, with a smooth, peachy finish. Olive oil drizzled Bonito del Norte tuna or sizzling gambas al ajillo would make charming soul mates.
- Maragda Rosa (Emporda): As night casts its shadow over the Costa Brava, the winemakers at Mas Llunes harvest their grapes, reveling in the cool night temperatures. Weeks later when this rose wine is ready for bottling by the light of day, it is a brilliant strawberry red. Deliciously fruity with aromas of red currant, the fresh Maragda Rosa will sweep you off your feet. Pair with tapas like grilled pulpo sprinkled with smoky pimentón, paella or langostinos.
- "G" (Somontano): Nestled in the foothills of the Pyrenees in the town of Lagüarres, you’ll find the Secastille vineyards. The 100% old Garnacha vines are exposed to temperature extremes resulting in a thoughtful, earthy red. This fresh wine is an ideal mate to a tasty array of tapas from Spain. Enjoy with a slice of Galician bread drizzled with olive oil and slivers of jamón.
- Buro de Peñalosa (Ribera de Duero): Mingle the heady flavors of plums and blackberries with a nuance of espresso and you’ve met Buro de Peñalosa. This lovely Tempranillo is aged in oak and hails from the acclaimed wine region of Ribera del Duero. Partner with a chocolate covered fig and you have a match made in heaven. The spicy finish also works beautifully with cured meats and aged cheeses. Salud!
- Escudo de Plata Gran Reserva (Jumilla): The Monastrell vines rub shoulders with olive groves and almond trees in the arid climate of Jumilla, Spain where Bodegas Fernandez has been crafting fine wines since 1920. With a penetrating ruby hue, and wild cherry aromas, this Gran Reserva wine shares hints of vanilla and cedar on the palate, reminiscent of its two years in oak. This beautifully balanced wine makes a happy companion to a lusty steak, a cured Manchego and lush chocolate Rabitos from Spain.