Iberian ham croquettes
• Olive Oil from UE
• 100 g flour
• 500 ml milk
• 1 finely diced small onion
• 200 gr. Iberian cured ham, chopped
• 2 eggs
1. Heat 4 tbsp. of Olive Oil from Spain in a frying pan and gently fry the diced onion (small cubes of 1 to 2 mm).
2. Once the onion has become translucent, add the flour and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until it has taken on a toasted colour.
3. Heat the milk and add it little by little to the onion mixture, stirring constantly, until it starts forming a béchamel sauce. The trick to producing a competition-worthy croquette is to really concentrate on the béchamel: the more time you devote to this step, the creamier and smoother it will be (around 15 minutes). The mixture should always come completely away from the pan as you stir.
4. Lower the heat and add the ham (you can substitute the ham for tuna, chicken, bacon, roast beef, chorizo, etc.) and season to taste with the nutmeg and salt. Your béchamel is ready when it falls away from the spoon easily.
5. Pour the béchamel onto a flat surface and let it cool before shaping the croquettes. A tip to stop the béchamel from drying out is to cover it with plastic film. You can shape the croquettes any way you like. The most traditional way is a longish tube shape although they can also be round or square. Whatever the shape you decide on for your croquette, it must have a completely smooth surface so the breadcrumbs will adhere to it perfectly and stop any filling coming out in the pan. One way of ensuring this is to use an ice-cream scoop or a piping bag. It will save you time and the mixture will be compact and smooth.
6. Roll the croquette quickly in the breadcrumbs to set the final shape.
7. Beat two eggs in a shallow dish. A tip to double the volume and make them more malleable is to separate the eggs first and beat the whites to soft peaks before adding the yolks. You’ll be surprised at the result!
8. Dip each croquette in the egg mixture and shake off any excess, then roll them once again in the breadcrumbs. Pass the croquettes gently from one hand to the other to get rid of any surplus breadcrumbs.
9. And now we’re coming to the grand finale… Fry the croquettes in plenty of Olive Oil from UE.
10. The first thing you have to do is ‘seal’ the croquettes and to do this it is essential that the oil be very hot. You need to turn them over in the Olive Oil from Spain within the first minute of frying to seal the whole breadcrumb crust. Then lower the heat to medium and keep turning them over, very carefully, to make sure that they are evenly browned.
11. Remove the croquettes from the frying pan and drain on absorbent paper to remove any excess oil. And there you have it… crispy-coated, delicious ham croquettes.