These ubiquitous Spanish Croquetas are delicious and easy to make at home. Sub in mushrooms, asparagus or spinach for a vegetarian version.
Spain is one of my favorite vacation destinations. Whether you're in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia or Zaragoza, croquetas de jamon Serrano will appear on the menu at most restaurants. I ALWAYS order croquetas. They are the perfect appetizer to enjoy with a beer or wine. The ideal tapas bite: salty, creamy, crispy and luscious all at the same time. Traditionally they are made Serrano ham, a type of dry cured ham similar to Italian Prosciutto.
They are also deceivingly easy to make at home. This recipe can be adapted. Use your favorite vegetable for a vegetarian variation. Use smoked turkey instead of ham if you're not a pork eater.
I created a YouTube video to help guide you through the process of making and cooking these luscious and savory croquetas de jamon Serrano. The video shows the step by step process so follow along and let me know how this recipe turns out for you.
Croquetas de Jamon Serrano / Ham Croquettes
- Deep fryer (optional)
Bechamel Mixture Ingredients
- 1 Medium Onion Chopped finely
- 1 Garlic clove Chopped Finely
- 4 tablespoon Butter
- ⅔ Cup All Purpose Flour
- ⅛ teaspoon Nutmeg, grated
- 2 Cups Jamon Serrano Substitute smoked turkey, spinach, or mushrooms
- 3 Cups Milk
- Salt/Pepper to taste
- ½ Cup All Purpose Flour
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Cup Breadcrumbs
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Parsley Optional
- Grated Cheese Optional
- Marinara sauce Optional
Prepare the croquetas mixture (bechamel)
- Warm the 3 cups of milk in a saucepan. Optional: add ham scraps to milk for added flavor
- In a heavy bottom pot, add 1 tablespoon of oil and saute onion and garlic on medium/low (4-5 minutes)
- Once onion and garlic have softened, add 4 tablespoon butter. Once butter is fully melted, add ⅔ cup flour and stir to incorporate. Cook the roux for a few minutes (Roux is the mixture of butter and flour that will help thicken the mixture) until bubbly and foaming - 3-4 minutes.
- Add the 2 cups of ham and mix
- Slowly ladle the warm milk into the roux and ham mixture, stirring well. Once all the milk is added make sure to mix thoroughly. Use a whisk to get rid of any lumps.
- Continue to cook the mixture until thick. Add salt/pepper to taste.
- Transfer the bechamel mixture to a greased heat proof container (Pyrex, stone, porcelain) and cover with plastic film.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or over night.
Forming and breading the croquetas
- Using a spoon, take out enough bechamel mixture to form a single croquette (approx ¼ cup) and place in your hand. Use your hands to form a spherical or oblong shape. Repeat with the remaining solidified bechamel. This recipe makes 16 croquetas.
- Once all 16 croquetas have been formed, it is time to bread them. Set up a dredging station. 3 bowls (one bowl with ½ all purpose flour, one bowl with 1 eggs, scrambled and one bowl with 1 cup of breadcrumbs).
- Roll one croqueta in flour, then coat in egg, then roll in breadcrumbs, ensuring complete coverage. Set breaded croquette on a plate. Repeat with remaining croquetas.
- Chill formed and breaded croquetas in fridge for at least 30 minutes before frying. At this point, you can also freeze them for future use.
- If using a deep fryer, turn on and set to 375°F. If not, then fill a pot with enough vegetable oil for deep frying. Warm on Medium-High until oil reaches 375°F. If you don't have an oil thermometer, take a pinch of flour and throw it into the oil. If you see the oil bubble then the oil is ready.
- Fry in batches and don't crowd the pot. Cook until the golden brown
- Place cooked croquetas on paper lined dish to wick excess oil.
- Enjoy croquetas on their own, or serve with marinara or your favorite dipping sauce and garnishes.