After spending a majority of my summer in southern Andalusia, I became accustomed to eating shawarma daily and sipping tea nightly. Since moving to Barcelona, I have become personally invested in tapas too, and in croquetas in particular. These little fried bits are popular throughout Spain, and I have fallen into a new obsessive love with them. So here is a pseudo-guide I’ve tried to throw together, mostly in homage to everyone abroad who might want to try recreating their own Catalonian-style croqueta.
What you’ll need:
Optional (for flavor): onion, cloves, bay leaf, salt, white pepper
Step 1: Making the bechamel
The majority of the filling of a croqueta is a thick, white sauce called bechamel, which is made from a combination of butter, flour and milk. The mixture of butter and flour, which is called the roux, is made first. The ratio of roux to milk is what generally determines the consistency of the bechamel. Typically, the ratio used for croquetas is three tablespoons of butter and three tablespoons of flour for each cup of milk. To make the roux, lightly heat a medium saucepan on low and add the butter to slowly melt it. Then, gradually stir in the flour as the butter melts until evenly mixed. To finish the bechamel, gradually whisk in the milk and cook the sauce slowly until very thickened. This should take about 2 to 5 minutes. Put the bechamel into the fridge so it can cool and become very thick to make into individual croquetas.
*To make a richer bechamel, small pinches of onion, cloves or bay leaf may be simmered in the milk before it’s added to the roux. Salt and white pepper should be stirred in after the bechamel is made.
Step 2: Adding flavors
Mashed potatoes and ground meats are the most common add-ins around the Barcelona area, but croquetas can also be made with just about anything, including mushrooms, cheeses or even nutmeg. Chicken croquetas are a very common variety.
Step 3: Frying the dough
Once the dough is chilled and thickened, you can now begin shaping it into small oval shaped cylinders typically around 4 to 5 centimeters long. Roll each croqueta in flour, then egg and finally breadcrumbs.
Prepare the oil for frying. These will be best when deep-fried, but they can also be fried in a simple frying pan with at least two centimeters of oil. If fried in a pan, be sure to rotate often so they cook evenly.
Drain the croquetas on a paper towel to get rid of any excess oil and enjoy! You can serve with hot sauce, garlic aioli or the sauce of your choice.
Contact Raeline Valbuena at [email protected].