Proscuitto Croquetas

I love croquetas, the Spanish version of croquettes. Lovely, crunchy and creamy treats all in one bite. It’s a shame they have such an old fashioned, 1970s reputation. As a child of the 70s maybe that’s why I’m drawn to them. I make them all the time using various fillings, but the Spanish proscuitto or jamon are my favourite. Give them a go.

INGREDIENTS:
400ml milk
2 cloves
8 black peppercorns
1 shallot (peeled)
1 piece fresh parsley stalk
1 bay leaf
125g plain flour
50g unsalted butter
100g Spanish proscuitto (very finely chopped)
2 eggs (beaten)
125g fine breadcrumbs
vegetable oil (for deep frying)

DIRECTIONS:
Pour the milk into a saucepan, add the cloves, peppercorns, shallot and bay leaf. Bring to a light simmer over a moderate heat. Simmer for 10 minutes then add the proscuitto. Cook for a further 2 minutes then remove from the heat.

In a separate saucepan, melt the butter over a moderate heat. Stir in the flour to create a crumbly texture. Cook, stirring constantly for about 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat Then pour in half the ham/milk mixture. Stir well. Pour in the remaining mixture and stir again. Spoon the sticky mixture onto a plate and smooth out. Leave to completely cool.

Arrange 2 shallow bowls, one with the beaten egg, the next with the breadcrumbs. Take a small golf ball sized piece of the ham mixture and mould into a croquette shape. Dip into the egg, then roll in the breadcrumbs. Arrange on a plate as you contnue, using up all of the mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1 our to firm up.

Heat the oil in a saucepan until hot. Drop in 4-5 croquetas and fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot or cold.

SERVING:
The perfect tapas dish eaten either hot or cold. They can also be made in advance and warmed in the oven for about 15 minutes. Serve with a little mayonnaise or home made alioli.

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