Traditional croquetas in Spain are made with thick béchamel. They are one of the most popular tapas dishes, commonly filled with jamón, chicken or salted cod. Many bars and restaurants (like ours) also offer novel, less traditional versions of croquettes with more varied fillings and ingredients!
Fun fact: "croqueterías" are restaurants that specialize in croquetas!
On our menu, we have 3 kinds of croquetas: the Ibérico Ham Croquetas (our most traditional), Shrimp Croquetas (fried in tempura batter, dusted in nori powder and served with kimchi dip), and the fan-favourite from our 'Sweet Tapas' menu, Croquetas De Arroz Con Leche (aka Spanish rice pudding croquettes coated in bread crumb and carbon).
One of Chef Ramon's favourite croquetas recipe to make at home is Chicken Croquetas. Plus, they a perfect (and delicious!) way to use roast chicken leftovers.
CHEF RAMON SIMARRO'S BARCELONA-STYLE PATATAS BRAVAS
FILLING // DAY ONE
1 litre milk
120 g unsalted butter
100 g all-purpose flour
1 large shallot
360 g cooked chicken
Put the milk into a medium pot and bring to a boil.
Chop the shallot very finely. Cook chopped shallot in a medium pot with the butter on low heat until soft. Add the flour into the shallot/butter mixture and stir with a whisk until brown. Add the boiling milk and keep whisking until thickened.
Cut the chicken into small pieces and add them to the mix. Continue stirring until the mixture begins moving toward the middle, and away from the sides of the pot, around 15 minutes.
Season with salt put the mixture into a flat tray to rest overnight.
TO FINISH // DAY TWO
300 g all-purpose flour
5 whole eggs, beaten
400 g bread crumbs
Oil for frying (light olive oil or vegetable oil)
Prepare 3 trays with the flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs, respectively.
Alternating between two spoons, form filling into croquetas balls (approx. 1 tablespoons of filling per ball). In your 1st tray, coat balls in flour.
Then, in your 2nd tray, coat croquetas with egg.
Next, in your 3rd tray, make sure your croquetas are still well-shaped, and coat with breadcrumbs.
Place your croquetas on a tray and cool in the fridge at least 1 hour before frying.
Heat enough oil to cover your croquetas in a frying pan. Once the oil has reached 360°F* fry your croquetas until they golden brown and crispy.
Carefully remove croquetas from pan and place them on a plate with a paper towel to get rid of any excess oil.
* If you don't have a thermometer for your oil, the easiest and safest method is to stick the end of a wooden spoon into the oil. If you see many bubbles form around the wood and they start to float up, your oil is ready for frying. If it is bubbling hard, the oil is too hot; let it cool a bit and check the temperature again.