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Croquetas

Occasionally, I like to pair wines with some sort of snack rather than an entire course. I have been playing with making croquetas and croquettes, the former hailing from sun-soaked España, the latter being the serious French cousin, sometimes with the whiff of pretense.

I love them both: today, I’ll share my version of croquetas.

To make the béchamel, I use olive oil instead of butter and swap out nutmeg and clove, favoring paprika and cayenne.  

These are lightly breaded fritters, fried, and served snack-like. They are a popular tapa in Spain and work so well with the acidity and sunny disposition of our Rosé.

Ingredients

Equipment

Saucepan
Silicone spatula
Soupspoon
9-inch pie plate or some similar pan that would hold the same volume
Two mixing bowls
Sheet pans
Dutch oven or stockpot for frying
Tongs or spider
Paper towels

Base Ingredients for Spanish béchamel

½ cup olive oil
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups milk
½ cup chicken broth
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper

Fillings of Choice

¾ cup flaked cooked crab, cooked and chopped shrimp, finely minced Spanish ham, or shredded chicken
Optional: 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of chopped oregano

Coating

Flour to dust your work surface and coat your hands
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 cup fine breadcrumbs

Frying

3 to 4 cups olive oil

Finishing

Maldon sea salt
Chopped parsley

How To Make

1
Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. When heated, add flour and stir constantly for three minutes to remove the raw flavor. In a slow stream, add the milk, continually stirring until incorporated. Add the stock in a slow stream, continually stirring until incorporated. The mixture will be thick. Add paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Allow to barely simmer on low for up to twenty minutes to smooth the texture and reduce a bit.
2
Add the filling of your choice, taste, and adjust any seasoning. Pour into the 9-inch pie pan, using the silicone spatula to smooth the top, keeping a consistent thickness. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least three hours until you are ready to fry.
3
In one mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the whole milk. In the other bowl, place the breadcrumbs.
4
Dust your hands and work surface with flour. Using a soup spoon, pull a crescent of the mixture from the pie plate, about 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons in size. Roll between your palms to form the shape of a small, half cigar. Complete with all the mixture.
5
Roll each croqueta in the egg wash, then roll in the breadcrumbs, setting them out on the sheet pan.
6
Heat the oil in the Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Line a sheet pan with paper towels. Fry the croquetas in batches for about two minutes, turning with tongs or a spider, getting them a nice golden brown. Remove to rest on the paper towel-lined pan.
7
Garnish with a sprinkle of sea salt and parsley. Serve warm with Chardonnay or Rosé.

2021 Rosé

The 2021 Rosé is a vibrant, fuscia. It shows bold notes of wild strawberries, ruby red grapefruit, and Campari.