I grew up in Miami, Florida, which is a hotbed of croqueta activity. Croqueta, a dish with Spanish origins, is widely eaten in Miami and throughout South Florida.
These crispy, breaded, and fried rolls contain fillings like ham, chicken, cheese, or fish, and are served as appetizers in many Cuban restaurants, bakeries, and cafés throughout the city.
They are an integral part of Miami’s food scene, which is why I created Croqueta Palooza to celebrate them.
What’s my favorite kind of croqueta? Serrano Ham and Manchego Cheese Croquetas!
Serrano Ham and Manchego Cheese Croquetas Recipe
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup finely minced onions
- ¼ cup flour
- 1-½ cups hot milk
- 12 ounces finely chopped serrano ham
- 1/3 cup grated Manchego cheese
- ½ cup flour
- 2 eggs, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 1 can of guava sauce
Makes 24 Croquetas
Making the Base
- Begin by preparing a Béchamel sauce. Heat butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
- Add the flour, stirring continuously, and cook for approximately 1 minute.
- Remove the pan from the heat and gradually pour in the hot milk. Return the saucepan to medium heat, whisking consistently until the sauce thickens.
- In a separate pan, heat chopped Serrano ham until warmed through. Then incorporate it into the Béchamel sauce.
- Mix the ingredients thoroughly and refrigerate the sauce for at least two hours to cool and set.
- After cooling, grate Manchego cheese directly into the sauce and blend it in completely by hand.
Preparing the Croquetas
- Set up three separate bowls: one containing flour, another with beaten egg, and the third with panko bread crumbs.
- Use an ice cream scoop to form croqueta balls.
- Roll each croqueta ball in the flour, ensuring it’s coated evenly.
- Next, dip it into the egg wash, completely covering the surface.
- Finally, roll the coated ball in the bread crumbs, making sure it’s well-covered.
- Place the coated croqueta balls back in the refrigerator for an additional 30 minutes or until you are ready to cook them.
Making the Croquetas
- Pour 2-½ inches of vegetable oil into a large, sturdy pot and heat it until it reaches 360°F on a deep-fry thermometer.
- Fry the croquetas in small batches, ensuring they have enough space in the oil, until they turn a golden brown color, typically taking around 3-4 minutes.
- Once fried, use a slotted spoon to transfer the croquetas to a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil.
- Fry the remaining croquetas in separate batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pot. Maintaining the oil temperature at 360°F is crucial for optimal frying, so avoid lowering the heat by frying too many at once.