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Iberian Ham Croquettes

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons plus ample olive oil for frying L'Estornell Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • ½ cup of flour
  • 2 ½ cups of whole milk 1 cup of finely chopped Iberian cured ham or prosciutto
  • Generous grating of nutmeg
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 cups dried breadcrumbs mixed with Japanese-style panko crumbs

Preparation:

Time: 4 hours
Yield: 6 SERVINGS
  • MAKE a ROUX.
  • Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter in a non-reactive saucepan and gently sauté the diced onion until translucent.
  • Add the flour. Mix using a wooden spoon or whisk. Continue to stir constantly until the flour has taken on a lightly toasted color.
  • MAKE the BÉCHAMEL SAUCE.
  • Add the milk little by little to the roux stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens.
  • Lower the heat and add the ham.
  • Season to taste with nutmeg, salt (remember the ham is already salty) and pepper. Your béchamel is ready when it falls away from the spoon.
  • Use a pastry brush and some melted butter to butter a shallow baking dish.
  • Pour in the béchamel. Dab the surface with the melted butter to prevent it from drying.
  • Refrigerate for 3 hours before shaping the croquettes.
  • MAKE the CROQUETTES.
  • Break the eggs into a bowl and beat lightly.
  • Spread the breadcrumbs on a flat surface such as a sheet pan.
  • With two spoons or floured hands roll the chilled bechamel into walnut-sized croquettes.
  • Dip each croquette into the beaten eggs. Shake off any excess (a slotted spoon helps) then roll them in the breadcrumbs.
  • Set the croquettes on a sheet pan and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Fill a deep, heavy bottomed pot with 2 inches of extra virgin olive oil and heat on high. A deep fry thermometer should read 350°F.
  • Slip 5-6 croquettes into the hot olive oil and fry turning them gently with a slotted spoon until they are golden on all sides.
  • Remove the croquettes with a slotted spoon from the pot and place them on a platter with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
  • Keep coquettes warm in a 200° F. oven for up to 30 minutes.
  • Repeat with the remaining croquettes.
  • Serve with Marcona Almonds and marinated pickled garlic.
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