Ham and cheese croquettes are a wickedly moreish tapas dish that's crunchy on the outside but creamy and cheesy on the inside
- 4tbsp olive oil
- 1 shallot
- 70g Ibérico ham, diced very small
- 60g plain flour
- 75ml vegetable stock
- 325ml milk
- 50g manchego cheese, grated
- 75g plain flour
- 2 large free-range eggs, beaten
- 100g breadcrumbs, preferably panko Japanese-style crumbs (widely available in supermarkets)
- oil, for frying
Heat the olive oil in a pan, then add the shallot and sauté until soft but not coloured. Stir in the ham, fry for another minute, then add the flour and fry over a medium heat until the mixture is golden. Combine the stock and milk in a small pan and heat until hot but not boiling. Gradually add the liquid to the roux, stirring all the time. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes until it thickens and leaves the sides of the pan when you stir it. Add the cheese and season with black pepper. Smooth the sauce onto a small baking tray then cover with cling film. Leave it to cool then put it in the fridge for an hour.
Put the flour, egg and crumbs into 3 bowls; disposable food gloves are handy here! Dust your hands with flour, take some of the cheese mixture and roll it to a walnut-sized ball. Dust with flour, followed by the egg and then the breadcrumbs. Put on a tray and put back in the fridge for 30 minutes.
If you have a deep fat fryer, heat the oil to 175C and fry the croquettes for a couple of minutes. if not, heat the oil in a frying pan until it starts to shimmer, then add 3-4 croquettes at a time and fry until golden. You don’t want them to cook too quickly otherwise the centre won’t be hot enough.
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