Recipe by: Rebeca Trasobares
Source: Family recipe
Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • 150 g cured Spanish ham, preferably in 1 chunk *
  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • 100 g plain flour
  • 1 litre whole milk
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Nutmeg to grate and grounded black pepper, to taste
  • ½ tsp of salt (or to taste)
  • 2/3 free-range eggs, beaten
  • 150 g breadcrumbs
  • Spanish olive oil, to fry

Instructions

  • Heat the milk with 2 bay leaves. Switch off the heat before boiling and remove the leaves.
  • Dice your ham as finely as possible. Heat the butter in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat and, when the butter melts, add the ham.
  • Turn the heat down, gradually stir in the flour and cook gently, stirring regularly, until it loses its raw flavour – this should take about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Gradually stir in the hot/lukewarm milk, beating it in well, until you have a smooth paste. Cook for another 20 minutes approximately until it has the consistency of smooth mashed potato and it gets separated from the sides of the pan. Season to taste with a grating of nutmeg and some black pepper and salt if needed (ham is already very salty). Put the béchamel in flat plate (big size) and allow to cool, then cover, pressing the cling film on to the surface of the sauce to prevent a skin from forming, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (you can leave it overnight).
  • Put the beaten eggs into a bowl, and the breadcrumbs in a plate. Roll spoonful’s of the mixture into cylinders (or cut pieces of 2 by 3cm) and dip these into the egg, then roll in the breadcrumbs until well coated and finalize the shape.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pan to 180oC/ 350oF, or until it begins to shimmer. Use enough oil to coat more than half of the croquet.
  • Prepare a plate lined with kitchen roll. Fry the croquets in batches (medium pan can fry no more than 6 at the same time, otherwise the oil will get cold and the croquets will be cooked inside) for a couple of minutes until golden all over, then lift out with a slotted spoon, and place them in the kitchen roll plate.
  • Serve immediately. You can strain the oil and use it again for deep frying.

*Substitute the Spanish Ham for prosciutto or boiled chicken/onion or spinach/onion or blue cheese…

Download PDF version here: Spanish Ham Croquets Rebeca Trasobares

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