Love Spain, Love Tapas? Here is a Spanish recipe for ham croquettes. These are absolutely delicious, but be warned, a bit of a fiddle to make....
- 250g of Serrano ham - or cooked lardons of pancetta if you can't find a block of Serrano ham
- 4 dessert spoons of good olive oil
- 120g butter
- 115g plain flour
- 1lt milk
- Â½ tsp grated nutmeg
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 250g breadcrumbs
- 1 lt oil for deep frying
Cut the ham into 0.5mm cubes, heat the oil and the butter in a large pan. Fry the ham for about 10 minutes, until most of the fat has melted. Stir in the flour and continue to cook over a low heat for around 10 mins, stirring frequently. Pour the milk into a non-stick pan and gently warm to a simmer. Gradually beat the warm milk into the ham and flour mixture, stirring all the time to form a béchamel. Continue to cook and stir for a further 10 - 15 mins, add the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Remove from the heat, transfer to a container and leave to cool slightly. Cover with clingfilm so that it is touching the surface of the mixture - stopping a crust from forming - place into the fridge for around 4 hours. Assemble the croquetas, take a golf ball sized amount of the béchamel mixture, dip into the beaten egg then roll in the breadcrumbs coating well and leave to rest on a tray, repeat with the rest of the mixture. Heat the oil to 180 C in a deep pan and fry the croquetas in batches for about 2 - 3 minutes until heated through and golden brown. Remove from the oil, drain on kitchen paper and serve at once, best eaten whilst still hot!