Sangria, sangria, so many happy memories, so many headaches the next day. It is such a glorious way to enjoy a summer evening though!
I was thrilled that B took us to Spain in the last post. One of my absolute favourite places to eat, is MoVida, in Melbourne. Since I have been back here I have been there three times. It is a tapas and racion style of eating. I love the delicate mixes of flavour, and the dishes that pack a punch. We still reminisce about the smoked eel croquetas we had the first few times we ate there. I have always wondered if these morsels are hard to make, so I did a bit of google research, and found a recipe for ham croquetas that looked pretty bloody good. From what I understand, the inside, no matter what the flavouring you decide on adding, is a thick roux. You then cool the roux, make balls and crumb them, preferably with Panko bread crumbs, and deep fry. When they are fresh out of the oil, they are unctuous inside with that crispy outer layer, and basically… delicious.
Here is what I used…
Plain flour, Panko bread crumbs, olive oil, milk, nutmeg, butter, a leek, eggs, Manchego cheese, and cured spanish ham. I used slices of Monte Nevado Serrano which is cured for at least 12 months.
I started by chopping up the leek, then melting the butter and cooking the leek in the butter over a medium-low heat for a few minutes. While that was cooking I piled the ham up and sliced it up as fine as I could. I then added 3/4 of the ham to the leeks and allowed to cook until the fat is rendered (melted).
Then I added the flour, mixed it through the buttery mix to make a roux, and let it cook further, while stirring well. I then put some milk in a pan to heat it.
When I was convinced the flour was cooked through (it had been a good ten minutes) I ladled the hot milk in to the roux gradually, stirring well between each ladleful. I kept cooking and thickening the sauce until it had a consistency similar to mashed potato.
Then I seasoned with black pepper and nutmeg, and added in the last 1/4 of the ham.
When that was all mixed through I put the mix in a bowl and let it rest in the fridge for a few hours with some cling film pressed on to the surface to prevent a skin forming. You could even make it the day before.
When the mix was chilled, good and proper, I grated up a bit of Manchego cheese using a Microplane to make it super fine, and mixed it though some Panko breadcrumbs.
I spooned out some of the mixture from the bowl and rolled it in to a ball, then dipped it in the egg, and rolled it in the breadcrumb mix. I ended up making them a little smaller than the picture below, as I wanted to make sure the insides were warmed in the time it took to deep fry them.
And lined them up on a plate, ready to fry.
I chose a small saucepan to reduce the amount of oil I would need, and filled it to around the height of the croquetas. I heated the oil and tested if it was hot enough by dropping in a small bit of crumb and waiting until it sizzled happily. The picture below shows my careful attempt with only a couple of croquetas, by the end I was much more confident and was frying about eight at a time.
I used a slotted spoon to scoop them out, and then let them rest on paper towel for a minute before serving them. Do serve them right away, they are best hot.
I served them alongside some Manchego cheese and some olives with anchovies as a pre dinner snack. I wish we had had sangria too.
I would love to work out how the smoked eel ones are made now.
So B, I know you are busy this week, but I am looking forward to where your next post takes us. Over to you…
Croquetas de Jamón
Based on this recipe from The Guardian.
Makes around two dozen.
100g (3 1/3 oz) cured Spanish ham, chopped as fine as possible.
60g (2oz) butter
1/4 medium sized leek, chopped
60g (2oz) plain flour
2 cups whole milk, heated
Grated nutmeg, to taste
2 free-range eggs, beaten
90g (3oz) panko breadcrumbs
30g (1oz) Manchego, finely grated
Around 2 cups of olive oil for frying
Melt the butter over a medium-low heat and gently cook the leeks, add in 3/4 of the ham after a few minutes, and cook until the fat of the ham has melted. Add in the flour and mix through well, continue to stir over medium heat for around eight minutes, and then add in the hot milk, gradually. Continue to stir.
Stir the mixture until the texture is like mashed potato, then season to taste with black pepper and nutmeg. Add in the rest of the ham, and mix well.
Put the mix in a bowl and cover with cling film pressed on to the surface, and refrigerate for at least two hours.
Grate the Manchego cheese and mix in with the Panko breadcrumbs.
Scoop out walnut sized pieces of the mix, and roll into a ball. Coat with egg and then roll in the breadcrumbs.
Heat the oil in a small saucepan and when oil is hot enough to sizzle breadcrumbs with vigour, add the croquetas in batches. Turn as they cook, and when they are golden in colour, remove with a slotted spoon on to a plate covered with paper towel.
Serve straight away.