My father is Spanish, so growing up we’d always have Spanish food in our house. Chorizo was a staple, tortilla and croquetas would be made regularly and paella would be made over an open fire on special occasions. For me Spanish food is linked to many happy memories. One of those happy memories is visiting my Aunty and Uncle in Madrid (whom I hadn’t seen since they moved away from Australia) and my Aunty had made a massive batch of croquetas just for me! She knows just how much I love them. So with it being World Tapas Day, it’s fitting that I make croquetas. These are super smokey, super cheesy and the peppercorns add an interesting dimension. You can use any cheese, if you don’t have or like smoked cheese. Pair these with a sweet sauce, I used a port jelly but red current jelly would work too, or have them as is. Makes 10 large croquetas.
- 50g butter
- 4 heaped tablespoons plain flour
- 350ml milk
- 100g smoked cheese
- 1 teaspoon pink peppercorns
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup plain flour
- 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup vegetable (rapeseed) oil
- Using a mortar and pestle, grind the peppercorns.
- Melt butter in a saucepan over a low heat. Be careful not to colour the butter, it should remain a golden yellow. Once melted, add in the flour and stir well until all incorporated, so that it looks like a smooth paste. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Increase the heat, to a medium heat. Slowly add in the milk, no more than 50ml at a time. Using a balloon whisk, whisk vigorously between each addition of milk until all is added. This should result in a smooth, lump-free sauce.
- Add in the cheese and peppercorns. Season to taste.
- Remove from the heat and place the mixture into a bowl, allow to cool slightly. Cover with clingfilm so that the top of the mixture is covered, this will prevent a skin forming. Refrigerate for approximately 3 hours to thicken.
- Remove the mixture from the fridge. Using a tablespoon, spoon a tablespoon’s worth of mixture into you hand and form into a cigar shape. Place on a plate. Continue until all mixture has been shaped.
- Arrange three wide, shallow bowls. In the first bowl, add the flour. In the second bowl, add the eggs and lightly beat them. In the third bowl, add the breadcrumbs.
- Working with one croqueta at a time, dip the croqueta in the flour and cover completely, shake off any excess, then rest on a plate. Once all croquetas are coated in the flour, dip them into the egg mixture, allowing any excess to drip back into the bowl. Then dip croqueta in the breadcrumbs, pressing slightly to coat. Repeat with remaining croquetas. Set aside and refrigerate for 10 minutes to firm up.
- Heat vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Fry three to four croquetas at a time, paying attention not to overcrowd the pan, for 30 seconds- one minute on each side, or until golden brown.
- Serve and enjoy!