Hofmann Culinary School Week 11: Ham Croquetas
If there's one thing that is sure to be on just about every single tapas menu in every single restaurant in Spain, it's croquetas, little fried balls of dough, usually filled with ham, cheese, cod or mushrooms. They are rarely awful, but rarely truly delicious. Nevertheless they're usually filling in a satisfactory but somewhat mediocre, good-hangover-food sort of way. My intuition tells me that somewhere in Spain there's at least one giant croqueta factory (staffed mainly by deep-fried oompa loompas) that sends out boxes of frozen dough balls to be consumed in most of the tapas bars from Andalucia to Asturias.
That being said, when croquetas are good, they're really lip-smackingly tasty and since they're such an integral part of Spanish culture it's no surprise that we learned how to make them in class at Hofmann. Luckily the ones we made were some of the best I've ever had and I definitely plan to make them at home.
Croquetas de Jamón (serves 4)
Click here for a printable version
-2 ounces (60 g) diced ham (and I'm talking about the good stuff here like jamón serrano or prosciutto)
-1/2 pound (200 g) diced onions
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-1 tablespoon butter
-1/3 cup (40 g) flour
-1 cup (1/4 L) milk
-a pinch of nutmeg
-salt and pepper to taste
-1 egg, flour and bread crumbs to roll the croquetas in before frying.
-vegetable oil or olive oil for frying
-Heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil and over medium-low heat, slowly saute the onions until they are completely soft and golden brown (at least 20 mins)
-Add the ham and continue to saute for a few minutes more (the longer you saute the ham, the stronger the ham flavor will be).
-Turn the heat down to very low and add the flour and incorporate it well into the ham and onions. Saute for a 6-7 minutes to make sure the flour is well cooked
-Add cold milk (in two parts), stirring well to blend.
-While continually stirring, cook 3-4 minutes more.
-Add nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste (beware that you may not even need salt because of the saltiness of the ham).
-Remove from heat and spread the batter on a plate. Cover with plastic and refridgerate until well chilled.
-Beat egg and put in a bowl. On one plate put a small pile of flour and on another plate put a small pile of bread crumbs.
-Remove batter from fridge. Roll into ping pong sized balls and dip in flour, egg and bread crumbs (in that order).
-Heat vegetable or olive oil in a saucepan (remember that you need to have enough oil so that the croquetas can be completely submerged).
-Drop in balls of batter (about 5 at a time, they should not be touching) and fry until golden brown. Remove with slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain.
-Croquetas should be served right away while they're hot!