November 1, 2018


Recipe excerpted from Spain © 2018, Emily Lycopolus. Recipe and

images by DL Acken reprinted with the permission of TouchWood





These tasty bar treats have so many variations and possibilities. The

perfect combination of a crunchy, crispy, fried outside and creamy

filling, they are rich and supremely delicious. They can be filled with

salt cod, pork, chicken, spinach, potato, and even pine nuts, but the

extra-thick, chilled béchamel sauce is non-negotiable.


The Rosemary infused olive oil adds a lovely herbaceous flavor

to the béchamel sauce that infuses it completely without taking over,

as a fresh herb might do.


Ingredients, Serves six

Makes 20–24 croquettes


1 cup diced bacon ends

2 Tbsp Rosemary infused olive oil

1/4 cup diced red onion

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole (3.25%) milk

1 cup grated Manchego cheese, grated

2 eggs

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp smoked paprika

1 1/2 cups Panko bread crumbs

Extra virgin olive oil for frying


Serrano and Iberico ham are hard to find in North America and

are very expensive. Thick-cut bacon or bacon ends are wonderful

substitutes and more reasonably priced.


Croquettes can be made in advance and reheated in the oven,

although they are best served straight from the hot oil. The

béchamel can also be made in advance, formed into balls, and

frozen before being breaded and fried. They will keep in the

freezer like this for up to 2 months. Once cooked, they’ll keep

in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.


If cooking the béchamel balls from frozen, ensure they are able

to thaw fully before frying, although breading them while frozen

is easiest. To prevent your fingers from becoming too sticky

while dredging or breading, keep one hand reserved for

handling the dry ingredients and the other for the wet.




Line a plate with paper towel.


In a small frying pan, sauté the bacon ends without any oil until

crisp and golden brown. Transfer them to the prepared plate to

drain off the excess fat and set aside.


Warm the Rosemary infused olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan

over medium heat. Sauté the onions for 1–2 minutes, until softened.

Sprinkle them with the salt and then continue to cook until the

onions are translucent and just starting to turn golden.


Turn downthe heat to low...


..and sprinkle the flour over the onions, stirring to combine and

remove any lumps. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking constantly

to keep it all smooth.


Remove the pan from the heat and, using a wooden spoon, stir in

the cheese until smooth and fully melted,and then stir in the bacon

ends. Transfer this béchamel sauce to a shallow bowl and cover

with plastic wrap, ensuring the plastic wrap is directly on the

surface  of the sauce, to prevent a skin from forming.


Place in the fridge for 2 hours or up to overnight.


While the sauce is cooling, or when you are ready to serve,

prepare  a dredging station. In one shallow bowl, whisk the

eggs; in a  second shallow bowl, place the flour, salt, and paprika,

and in a third shallow bowl, place the bread crumbs.


Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Line a wire rack with

paper towel.


Scoop up 2 Tbsp of the chilled béchamel sauce and use your

fingertips to form it into a ball. Roll the ball first in the flour

mixture to evenly coat, then dip it in the egg, and, finally, roll it

in the bread crumbs. Set on the prepared cookie sheet and repeat

with the remaining sauce.


Place in the fridge and chill, uncovered, for at least 1 hour, or

up to overnight.


When ready to serve, preheat oven to 200°F.


Heat 2 inches of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over

medium-high heat to 375°F. Fry the croquettes in batches of

three or four, so you don’t overcrowd the pan, until golden

brown and crispy, about 2 minutes per side.


Using a slotted spoon, remove from the oil and let sit on the

prepared wire rack to drain any extra oil. Give the oil a minute

or two to return to temperature between batches.


Keep them warm in the oven while you cook each batch, and

then serve immediately.


For more of Emily's recipes from Spain click HERE





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