It has been exactly one year since we started Dulce and Salado, sharing our first post – Empanadas de Queso – with all of you… We’ve had an incredible year – we both moved on to new jobs, we took our first big trip together, we got one year older and we took an alarming number of photos of our food.  We’ve had a great time cataloguing our favorite dishes and we feel like we are just getting started…. so we have a lot more to come.  

These croquetas for example, were added to our list of ‘to post‘ items shortly after our trip to Spain last fall.  We had the incredible opportunity to visit some friends of ours who are currently calling Barcelona and Granada home right now, and we had tonnes of fun eating and drinking through as much as we could.  The tapas experience was our favorite, especially in Granada, which it turns out is one of the last places in Spain where every bar offers a tapa included with your drink.  Many places go so far as to allow you to select which tapa you want to try.  The tapas are substantial too, for close to a week we went out for ‘dinner‘ and never officially ordered any food – hey – we were on vacation!

Croquetas like these are quite versatile, They are essentially made of béchamel mixed with cheese and jamón, breaded and fried.  You can change up the cheese or the filling if you like, but as we are paying tribute to our Spanish adventure we’ve used Manchego cheese and Jamón serrano.  While both available here in Vancouver they hold a premium price tag so it is good these don’t use too much of either, enough for the flavor, but not so much that we can’t keep saving for our next trip to Spain.  I have to reminisce how one night in Barcelona we went to a department store – El Corte Inglés – to pick up some snacks for the evening – a large package of Jamón Ibérico, a package of sliced Chorizo, a large wedge of Manchego, and two bottles of wine and it cost less than 20 euros… te extrano España de verdad! 

Coming full circle here, these croquetas are quite a bit like our first post – they are filled with cheese and fried in oil.  Providing you don’t burn them, they will go over well with most people you invite over.  They make a great tapa as you only need a couple since they are so rich, and they pair perfectly with a glass of wine or a cold beer.

Amigos… Provecho! 

Ingredients / Ingredientes

  • 3 1/2 tbsps butter / cucharadas de mantequilla
  • 2 tbsp olive oil / cucharadas de aceite de oliva
  • 2/3 cup flour (plus an extra 1/2 cup for coating) / taza de harina ( más 1/2 taza extra)
  • 1 1/4 cups milk / tazas de leche
  • salt and pepper / sal y pimienta
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg / cucharilla de nuez moscada
  • 3-4 slices of serrano ham, roughly chopped / rebanadas de jamón serrano, cortado finamente
  • 1 1/2 ounces finely grated manchego cheese / onzas de queso manchego rallado
  • 1 large egg / huevo
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs / taza de harina de pan

Instructions / Instrucciones

  • Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat / Derretir la mantequilla con el aceite de oliva en una olla grande sobre fuego medio.
  • Once melted, add flour, a tablespoon at a time, stirring after each addition until it is well combined / Después agregar poco a poco la harina, mezclando todo bien hasta que todo esté combiando.

Béchamel for croquetas

  • Once all the flour is added, begin by adding a splash of milk, and continue stirring.  Add more and more milk, stirring as you go until the mixture is completely smooth and all the milk is added / Poco a poco agregar la leche y mezclar hasta que la mezcla este suave y toda la leche esté incorporada.
  • Cook the mixture, continuing to stir for a few minutes longer, until the mixture thickens up / Continuar cocinando la mezcla por unos minutos más hasta que la mezcla esté espesa.
  • Season to taste with a pinch of salt, some freshly ground pepper, the grated nutmeg and the cheese.  Take the pan off the heat and allow to cool / Sazonar con una pizca de sal y pimienta, luego agregar la nuez moscada y el queso rallado. Sacar del fuego y dejar enfriar.

season the mixture

  • Add the chopped ham, mix together, cover the mixture in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour / Agregar el jamón y mezclar todo. Colocar la mezcla en un recipiente y cubirirlo, dejar en el refrigerador por una hora.
  • Using a couple of large spoons, form the mixture into croquetas and then prepare three plates or bowls for breading them – one for the flour, another for the beaten egg, and one for the breadcrumbs / Con unas cucharas transformar la mezcla en forma de croquetas. Prepara tres platos: uno con la harina, otro con el huevo batido y otro con la harina de pan.
  • Roll the croquetas first in the flour, then in the egg, and finally in the breadcrumbs, coating them evenly and place on a plate while you prepare the rest / Colocar las croquetas pirmero en la harina, luego en el huevo y por último en la harina de pan.
  • Fill a pan with a couple of inches of canola oil for frying and place over medium high heat / Llenar una olla con un par de pulgadas de aceite para freír a fuego medio-alto

breading and frying

  • Once the oil is approximately 350 degrees, begin to fry the croquetas, turning over as needed to brown evenly – they should be fully browned in 2-3 minutes.  Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess oil / Cuando en aceite alcanze la temperatura de 350 grados tienes que comezar a freir las croquetas por 2 o 3 minutos hasta que estén doradas. Sacar del aceite y colocarlas sobre papel para sacar el exceso de aceite.
  • Sprinkle with some extra salt and serve immediately / Colocar un poco de sal y servir inmediatamente.

Croquetas... Provecho!