Put fifteen friends invited to lunch one Sunday in March gathered to celebrate an important birthday (his) . In the days before you think and think again about the whole menu, but the only thing that you just can’t think of is the appetizer. Not something taken for granted, already done, but something different, in its own way playful, fun. Until the day before the total nothingness, then finally the lighting arrives. And if I prepared an Italian version of the croquetas that I recently tasted in La Bodeguita Juan Alberto ? No sooner said than done. An excerpt from the book “Basic Tapas” came to my aid , I looked at the process and then reworked it with what I had at home.
These appetizing croquettes are nothing more than béchamel quenelles with extra virgin olive oil, which are usually accompanied by Jamon Serrano or chorizo . Not having these ingredients I made my own way and, in addition to the chopped boiled egg included in the recipe, I added raw ham and a handful of grated Parmesan (unfortunately I could not even find Manchego).
The beauty of these croquettes is all in the different consistencies that characterize them and therefore crunchy outer shell, irresistibly soft, soft, airy heart, a characteristic that makes them overly pleasurable. To bring to the table for an aperitif or for an original appetizer, the only care you need is to prepare in quantity because they disappear with an unimaginable speed. Of course, countless variations can be devised by adding vegetables, cooked meat or cheeses to the starting béchamel and, not to be underestimated, they are not bad for recycling some ingredients that are left in the fridge. Did I get you curious? Here is the recipe:
Croquetas with ham
Ingredients for about 18-20 croquettes:
500 ml of milk
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
60 g of flour
2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
50 g of raw ham
peanut oil for frying
First put an egg in a saucepan, cover it with water and cook it for 6 minutes from boiling. Block the cooking under cold running water, then drain it and finely chop it. Prepare the béchamel by heating the oil in a thick-bottomed saucepan. Add the whole flour in a single stroke and toast it over medium heat, stirring constantly. Pour the milk flush, without ever stopping to mix, and let it thicken for 5 minutes. Add the hard-boiled egg, the ham (both minced) and the grated Parmesan. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Continue cooking for another 20 minutes over low heat, stirring frequently. At this point you will need to obtain a thick béchamel sauce that you will cool to room temperature before transferring it to the refrigerator overnight.
The following day take a spoonful at a time of béchamel and, with wet hands, form the croquettes that you will place on a plate. Pass them first in a dish in which you have beaten the remaining two eggs, then in the breadcrumbs so as to cover them well. Fry, a few at a time, in peanut oil until they are golden brown. Dry with absorbent paper, salt and serve immediately.
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Ciao sono Sara e questo è Fiordifrolla, un luogo in cui si intrecciano e trovano una collocazione alcune delle mie più grandi passioni: cucina, scrittura, fotografia, vino e viaggi. Questo blog è nato nel 2008 quasi per gioco, con gli anni è diventato il mio lavoro: ad oggi sviluppo ricette (e video), le cucino e le fotografo per numerosi ed importanti editori, riviste e agenzie.