Croquettes with Spanish Ham

Croquettes with Spanish Ham: Recipe

You will need:
3–4 handfuls fine dry breadcrumbs
1 large handful chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 free range eggs, whisked
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying

For the Béchamel:
200ml vegetable stock
1 litre milk
1 tbsp olive oil
120g unsalted butter
120g plain flour
6 slices Spanish ham, finely diced

Alternative Fillings:
Instead of ham, you could use leftover roast chicken or turkey, grated cheese, flaked salt cod, leftover cooked vegetables, regular ham or any cured meat, such as salami.

Method:
1.To make the béchamel (do this on the previous night), heat the stock and milk in separate saucepans until hot. Set aside.

2. Put the olive oil and butter in another saucepan over medium heat. When the butter starts foaming, add the flour and cook, stirring, for a few minutes.

3. With the pan still over the heat, add the hot milk to the roux and whisk vigorously until smooth. Reduce the heat to low and keep whisking to avoid lumps forming. Add the hot stock and cook, whisking continuously, until the sauce boils and is the consistency of very thick cake batter (about 20 minutes).

4. Allow the sauce to cool a little. Season, stir through the ham and spoon the béchamel sauce into a deep dish. Cover well and refrigerate overnight.
To make the croquettes, combine the breadcrumbs and parsley in a bowl. Put the whisked egg in a separate bowl.

5. Remove the prepared béchamel from the fridge. Shape a tablespoon of the béchamel into a ball. Dip the ball into the egg until well coated, then roll in the breadcrumbs. Dip this coated ball into the egg again, and roll in the breadcrumbs again. Set aside on a plate and repeat with the remaining béchamel, egg and breadcrumbs.

6. Heat enough oil for deep-frying to 180°C in a deep saucepan. If you don’t have a thermometer, drop a cube of bread into the oil. The oil is the right temperature when the bread turns golden-brown within 15 seconds. Deep-fry the croquettes two or three at a time for 1–2 minutes, until golden-brown. Drain on paper towel and serve immediately.

Recipe: My Barcelona Kitchen, Sophie Ruggles (Murdoch Books)


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