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1st January
2011
written by Nibblish
This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Tapas Dinner

I prepared the croquettes as one of the dishes for a tapas dinner party. It can be little bit fiddly to make because the cheesy mixture will always try to misbehave and leak when being coated and fried, but if you follow the tips & techniques carefully you should be all good! Having said that, I really think it’s well worth the effort…you simply can’t beat a creamy and cheesy white sauce in a crispy crust! Mmmm…


Ingredients (for 10 croquettes):

50g butter
70g plain flour
300 ml milk
1/2 nutmeg, grated
70g cheddar cheese, grated
2 slices Prosciutto ham, chopped
1 egg
60g flour (coating)
100g breadcrumbs
Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper
300ml vegetable oil


Instructions

1. First let’s get started with the cheesy b├ęchamel sauce, which is the really easy part. Melt the butter on medium heat in a non stick pan, add the flour slowly and whisk it until it forms a thick and smooth paste. Add the milk slowly, again splash by splash, and whisking continuously until nice and smooth. Season with the grated nutmeg, salt and pepper. Add the grated cheese and continue stirring it well until your happy with the mixture. It should be thick and creamy. Let it cool down. Add the chopped prosciutto and refrigerate for a good hour.


2. Now let’s form the croquettes, which is the trickier bit. Take the cold mixture out of the fridge, put flour on your dry hands and start forming little sausage shaped portions, roll it in more flour and put it onto a floured plate. If it doesn’t stick together nicely, put it back in the fridge for a little bit longer. For this step to be successful, it is all about working quickly with a cold mixture and a lot of flour. Place the formed croquettes back in the fridge for another 15 mins. 


3. Now it’s time to fry those little babies. Bring the vegetable oil to boil into a large frying pan. Take the cold floured portions out of the fridge and very quickly coat them one by one into the whisked egg, bread crumbs and then into the hot oil. If the mixture melts into the pan before the coating has time to cook, then the mixture is not cold enough and you will need to place the plate with the remaining portions in the freezer for a few minutes to cool it down further. Cook on each side for 2 minutes until golden brown and place it on some kitchen paper to absorb the excess fat. Once all the croquettes are cooked, place them into a small oven tray to keep it warm in the oven until you’re ready to serve!

Serve it with a green salad, a good Spanish red wine and play some chill out Latino music in the background (Eg. Rythm del mundo: Cuba compilation) and you’ll be laughing!! You may also want to take a look at my other tapas recipes to make it a full dinner!

By the way, this recipe is quite versatile too and you can swap the prosciutto for any other charcuterie (eg. cooked ham, salami etc), add other small bits (eg. mushrooms, fresh herbs or chili!) or change the cheddar for any other hard cheese (gruyere, parmesan etc)



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