Growing Chefs! Ontario Croquettes de Jamon

Croquettes de Jamon

Croquettes are a quintessential tapas snack, and these bechamel based snacks are as classic as it gets. It is important to make a very thick bechamel, and let it cool completely before breading. When it is fried, the interior will become super creamy and delicious.
Makes 24 croquettes
4 tablespoons butter1/4 cup olive oil1 cup flour, plus two cups for breading1 medium onion, very finely diced1 litre milk1 pinch nutmeg1/2 pound serrano ham, diced into small pieces2 eggs3 cups panko bread crumbs Salt to taste
Measuring spoonsMeasuring cupsMixing bowls of various sizesChef's knifeDeep fryer or pot to fry inThermometerSlotted spoonPaper towelBaking sheetPlastic wrapMedium potWooden spoonWhiskTasting spoonsDish towel

Get Organized!

Gather your mise en place; get together all of the equipment needed for the recipe and gather your ingredients.

Get Prepped!

Cut onion and half from tip to root. Remove the outside skin. Slice the onion from tip to root, making incisions very close together almost all of the way to the end, but leaving the root end intact. Turn the onion and cut across the incisions to dice the onion finely.

Dice the ham into very small pieces.

Measure out the butter, olive oil, flour, nutmeg, eggs, and panko.

Get Cooking!

Melt the butter and olive oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt, and cook until starting to caramelize, about 5 minutes.

Add the nutmeg, and ham, and cook for 1 more minute.

Add the flour, and stir continuously with a whisk to form a roux. Cook the roux until it turns light brown and smells nutty.

Slowly add the milk in while whisking continuously, waiting for it to thicken before adding more milk. Once all of the milk has been added and it is nice and thick, season with salt to taste.

Transfer the bechamel to a large bowl to cool, and put it in the fridge with a piece of plastic wrap directly on top to prevent it from forming a skin.

Let the bechamel cool completely, at least three hours.

Set up a breading station; in the first bowl put 2 cups of flour, in the second bowl put two eggs and whisk together well, and in the third bowl place the panko breadcrumbs, seasoned with salt.

Set up a baking sheet for the croquettes. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of bechamel mixture and form it into a log. Roll the log in flour, dip into egg to coat on all sides, and then dip it into the flour to bread it completely. Repeat this process until all of the bechamel mixture is used up.

Preheat a deep fryer or a pot with oil to 410°F, and when the oil is ready, begin to fry the croquettes in batches. Fry for about 4 – 5 minutes, until golden brown, turning as needed while cooking. Transfer the croquettes to a baking sheet lined with paper towel and season them with salt. Continue to cook the croquettes. Let them cool for a couple minutes before serving, as the insides will be very hot.