What is it that croquetas have that makes Spain adore them? I’m unsure but, as a friend of mine would say, everything that is fried is great. Quite often have I heard that a couple of croquetas with some salad on the side make a light dinner. Not sure what is light about it, but they definitely make a great dinner.
Croquetas are usually a thick flavoured béchamel, buttered in egg and breadcrumbs, and deep fried. In this recipe I have prepared a basic veggie version with mushrooms, which I hope you’re gonna love.
Making croquetas is not the easiest thing. It takes some time to master them. But the effort is worth it! Here are some tips:
- Ensure to leave plenty of time (e.g. overnight) for the béchamel to thicken in the fridge.
- Don’t use mushrooms (or other veggies) if they still contain lots of water.
- Fry with oil that is well hot but not too hot, since it will burn them and leave the inside cold.
- Don’t give up.
A classic in Spanish cuisine
- 1 small onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 250 g mushrooms
- 1.5 tbs olive oil
- 1.5 tsp sea salt
- 60 g butter
- 60 g sauce/plain flour
- 600 ml whole milk
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 2-3 free range eggs
- 250 g (roughly) breadcrumbs
Peel and finely chop the onion and the garlic. Clean and finely chop the mushrooms.
Bring a frying pan to medium heat and add the olive oil. Once hot, fry the garlic for 20-30 seconds and then add the onion. Add ½ tsp salt and leave to fry until well soft.
Add the mushrooms and another ½ tsp salt. Fry until mushrooms are well cooked and no water is remaining. If necessary, turn the heat up to eliminate water. Set aside to cool down.
Place a pot over medium heat and add the butter. Once it is melted, add the flour and use a whisk to stir.
Keep stirring until the flour is well toasted. Then start adding the milk, whilst stirring – allowing it to dissolve the flour –. Add ½ tsp salt, the nutmeg and bring to boil under constant stirring. Mix in the mushrooms.
Pour béchamel and mushroom mixture into a glass bowl. Leave to cool down to room temperature, cover with stretch film and leave in fridge overnight.
Prepare two bowls, one with 2-3 well beaten eggs and another one with breadcrumbs.
Use a spoon to take a good portion of the béchamel mix prepared the day before. Give it a round/rectangular shape.
Dip portion into breadcrumbs first, quickly into the egg and then finish with breadcrumbs again. Set aside on a plate. Repeat to create roughly 16 croquetas.
Ideally, leave plate with croquetas for another 10-20 minutes to cool down in the fridge.
Pour sunflower oil in a medium-sized frying pan and bring to medium-high heat. It should be enough oil to cover half of the croquetas. Once well hot, fry just a few croquetas at a time, turning them as they get brown on one side.
Once fried, take croquetas out of the frying pan and place over a plate with kitchen towel to take away excess oil.
You can freeze the croquetas just before frying. To defreeze, fry immediately in medium hot oil.