Ham and cheese croquetas
The crispy shells of these croquetas encase a luxurious, velvety cheese filling, speckled with salty ham. Those little parcels of cheesy goodness melt in your mouth and prevent you from turning down another… and another…
I don't do calories, and dishes like this make me thankful for my uncaring nature. Before we get onto taste, lets clear up the 'croquetas or croquettes' issue. Croquetas are Spanish and they're made of a thick, cheesy, white sauce mixture. Croquettes, however, are what I like to call 'the gloopy cousin' because they're made of mashed potato and cheese. Croquettes just don't hold themselves the way their Spanish equivalent does.
What you'll need:
2 tablespoons olive oil
50g hard cheese (tasty or cheddar), grated
50g ham or bacon, chopped well
Salt and pepper to season
1 cup plain flour
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
Vegetable oil for deep frying
Aioli, to serve
What to do:
Heat the oil and butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. When butter has melted and starts to sizzle, add the flour and stir for about two minutes to cook out the floury taste. Reduce heat to low and add the milk very gradually, stirring well between each addition. Once all the milk has been added you should be left with a thick sauce. Add the ham and cheese and season well with salt and pepper. Stir the mixture for two more minutes or until the sauce is paste-like. Put this into a bowl and cover with cling film. Refridgeate for an hour or until cool.
While the filling is cooling, put your flour into a flat bowl. Crack your egg into another bowl and beat well with a fork. Put the breadcrumbs into another bowl. Have a plate at the end for coated croquetas. Keep your plates in the flour - egg - breadcrumbs order.
Once your mixture has cooled, remove it from the fridge and scoop out a tablespoon at a time. Roll the mixture into a ball, flatten slightly and sculpt it into a cylindrical shape. You'll want to work relatively quickly to preserve the shape, especially on hot days!
Roll the croqueta in flour using your left hand and pop it into the egg. Using your right hand, roll it in the egg and pop it into the breadcrumbs. Now, use your 'dry' left hand to coat the croqueta in breadcrumbs and place it on the plate. It's not going to matter too much if you mix up your hands but using one for the egg and the other for dry ingredients keeps things pretty tidy. Repeat this process until all the mixture has been rolled and coated.
Fill your deep fryer with oil or heat two litres of vegetable oil in a deep frypan or wok. (Vegetable oil is the best for deep frying because it has a very high burning point.) If you drop a bit of bread or a pinch of croqueta mix in the oil and it immediately sizzles, the oil is ready - this should be about 180C.
Cook the croquetas in batches of 4 or 5, until they are a nice golden brown colour. Use a slotted spoon to remove them and place on paper towels to absorb excess oil. It's a good idea to cut one open to make sure the insides are hot and oozy.
Keep cooking them in batches and serve right away. Enjoy with a dollop of aioli.