A taste of Spain: Croquetas de Jamón / Serrano ham croquettes (reposting as I’m entering this to the easyJet competition)

Croquetas de jamon (serrano ham croquettes)

Please send me on holiday to Barcelona!

A taste of Spain: Croquetas de Jamón / Serrano ham croquettes

These little babies were my lifesaver when I was in Barcelona last week…

My colleagues and I were so busy that we barely found time to eat so it wasn’t until about 10pm on Day 2 of the conference that we finally made it to a tapas restaurant for a meal (and a welcome chance to sit down).

In all honesty, the restaurant we found wasn’t particularly good but they did make a mean Croquetas de Jamón – I’d never had one before but, mmmmmm, I loved it!

We found a better tapas place the next evening, and I made it a point of ordering croquetas again; in fact, I had to make another order after that as our table of 7 devoured them as quickly as they arrived.

I therefore made it my mission this weekend to make some myself. My colleague, the one who’d introduced me to them, thought they were quite difficult to make but they’re so not. They are however terribly bad for the old waistline so it’s best I don’t attempt these again for a very, very long time – such a shame because they taste so divine! When your fork first cracks the breadcrumbed coat, you expect something crispier on the inside but instead, there’s something richly decadent when your forks ends up plunging into a fluffy pillow of melt-in-your-mouth savoury goodness.

Crisp on the outside, pillowy soft and creamy on the inside.

I based my recipe on a recipe for croquetas from a website, aptly named Spain Recipes.

However, I think their recipe uses far too much oil because I ended up using a paper towel to blot as much of the oil out of the bechamel-like sauce as possible.

I flavoured my croquetas with serrano ham, sweet smoked paprika and fresh chives but you can replace it with almost anything you like – salt cod is meant to be another traditional filling but my friends tell me boiled eggs, chorizo or cheese works just as well. FYI, you do need to make the filling in advance to give it as much time to set as possible but trust me, it’s well worth the effort!

Click here for a printer-friendlier recipe.

Serrano ham croquettes / Croquetas de Jamón (my batch made 15 croquettes)

2 tablespoons olive oil

Oil for frying

Home-made breadcrumbs are always better than shop bought packets.

4 tablespoons salted butter (about 60 grams)

3 (very) heaped tablespoons of flour

1½ cups whole milk, heated

70 grams jamón serrano or other dry-cured ham, finely chopped

Salt/pepper for seasoning

2 eggs, beaten

Lots of extra fine breadcrumbs (I blitzed half a stale baguette and it worked brilliantly!)

1 tablespoon finely chopped chives

1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika

The bechamel-like sauce flavoured with serrano ham, fresh chives and paprika

Over a medium high heat, melt your butter and oil together in a saucepan and add your flour, using a wooden spoon to stir the flour continuously.

Add ½ cup of milk initially, stir well and then In a saucepan, heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil and the butter over medium heat. Your mixture should already start to thicken and when it does, add the rest of your milk. Keep stirring it over a medium heat to stop it from forming lumps. Turn the heat down slightly and keep mixing for about 8-10 minutes.

Add the ham, chives, paprika and some salt/pepper to season and keep stirring.

Pour your mixture into a small baking dish and allow it to cool and set (ideally overnight in the fridge or at least for 3-4 hours)

Prepare making the croquettes, beat your two eggs in a separate bowl and get your breadcrumbs ready on a plate.

The assembly line begins...

Shape your croquetas into the desired shape and roll them first in the breadcrumbs, then into the egg, and then re-coat in more breadcrumbs.

These are so easy to prepare in advance.

To fry, heat at least 3-4 cm of oil in a pan until smoking hot. Fry your croquetas for 1-2 minutes, turning gently until golden brown. Don’t fry them in batches of more than 3-4 to ensure you don’t reduce the temperature of the oil.

Croquetas de jamon. Ole!

Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm in an oven while you fry all your croquetas.

Be careful when you eat them as they’ll be piping hot on the inside!

Lots of love

thebigfatnoodle

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Comments
33 Responses to “A taste of Spain: Croquetas de Jamón / Serrano ham croquettes (reposting as I’m entering this to the easyJet competition)”
  1. I love these! You’re making me miss Spain :D. Great recipe too, yours look perfect – great colour. Makes me want to post the Welsh equivalent to croquetas – the glamorgan sausage 😀

  2. ChgoJohn says:

    What’s not to love? Your caption says it all, “Crisp on the outside, pillowy soft and creamy on the inside.” Add serrano ham and you’ve got near perfect croquettes. They’d be perfect if, right now, they were on a plate before me.

  3. Olé!
    These look perfect to me, indeed. I love croquetas, but it is true that they are not that good for your waistline, so I don’t cook them so often. Any way I must say that, as your colleague told you, they are not that easy to make, so congratulation for achieving such beautiful croquetas in your first attempt 🙂

    • ThanksG, that means a lot especially since it comes from you. I didn’t find them too difficult to make, just a bit fiddle. I could eat these too easily every day, so we’re going to wait for at least a couple of months before I try some different flavours. Any recommendations?

  4. I have never tried this before. Sounds very yummy nice and hot and perfect with a little vino. How was your trip? Any pictures of the sites? Take care, BAM

    • Hiya. Trip was tough cos it was for work, and I was manning our press office at the conference – stressful and tiring. Ashamed to say I didn’t take any photos. Such a shame as I go there every year but never have time to sightsee as it’s all about the work.

  5. thelegaltart says:

    These look like heaven. Definately being added to the must make list!

  6. They look so perfect!

  7. I’m a fan of anything “pillowy soft” in the middle. These look like delicious, savory bites!

  8. Definitely!! Looks amazing!

  9. zestybeandog says:

    Those look DANGEROUSLY good! Delicious! I bet you can’t eat just one 🙂

  10. k.m. says:

    It is terrible for me to read your blog before dinner. These look so crunchy and fun to eat I’m trying to reach through the screen!

    I really want to try the salt cod filling but I think the ham might be easier to find. Either way I think I’ll be very happy once I get to make some!

  11. Caroline says:

    I always assumed these were difficult to make too, but I’m glad you say otherwise. They look delicious!!

  12. Not a huge fan of fried food, but these sound amazing…ham and cheese, YUM! and then there is the béchamel…so delightful. Did they serve them with a sauce?

  13. I’ve had a version of these in restaurants, but they were not as pretty as yours, nor did they taste as good as yours sound. Love the mixture inside. These look so tasty…mmmm, now I want one!

  14. Now these look amazing. I love croquetas de pollo, never tried of ham, but I must after all this! Thanks for the recipe 😉

  15. She’s back and firing on all cylinders!! I love croquetes, they kind of went of fashion in the UK didn’t they, but I always end up having them in Holland (potato ones) – for some reason or another. But this filling looks divine, and your version looks picture perfect. Sod the waistline!

  16. For some reason whenever I see recipes for croquettes, my mouthwaters and the cravings begin. 🙂

  17. Bart says:

    Hey there,

    I hope you don’t mind me posting this, and I know you go to Barcelona a lot, but your Croquetas are exactly the kind of dish we’re looking for to enter our tapas competition we’re running on the easyJet holidays website: http://holidays.easyjet.com/barcelona-restaurants.htm

    It could win you a trip back there to enjoy the city without the stresses of work!! 🙂

    The top prize is a 3 night break for two to Barcelona staying at a 4* hotel, including flights for the lucky winner. There are also 10 runners up prizes too!

    If you want to enter the comp, all you have to do is follow the easy guidelines on the competition page.

    Please feel free to drop us an email at competitions@holidays.easyjet.com if you want more information.

    Check it out and good luck if you decide to enter!
    Bart

  18. Ha! Was checking out the competition, I have to say your croquettas look amazingly good. Best of luck — may the best/luckiest blogger get to Barcelona…I do really love that town.

  19. Bella says:

    Oh my goodness, I saw the words “jamon serrano” and couldn’t think straight! My mother is from Spain and we have these whenever I visit her in the summers. They are such a tasty snack and if you throw in a glass of vino–pure heaven! The photos look great! 🙂

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