Today my adventures lead me to croquetas de jamon – ham croquettes. Although commonly served at parties, these appetizers are consumed at any time of day. They can be served at breakfast, prepared in a sandwich at lunch, as an appetizer at dinner or as a midnight snack. Croquettes are difficult to describe if you've never tasted one or even heard of them. Basically they are made of ground ham, formed into small cylindrical shapes, lightly breaded and fried. This is a time consuming recipe, and few modern-day Cubans bother making them at home since they are readily available in Cuban bakeries, cafeterias, restaurants, and even packaged frozen; yet, I cannot find them here. So, if I really want them, I must make them myself.
- 4 cups ham (ground or finely chopped in a food processor)
- 1 small onion (finely chopped in a food processor)
- 2 cloves garlic (pressed or chopped in a food processor)
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 cup flour
- 2 cups milk, scalded
- salt and pepper to taste
For the breading:
- 1 large egg, beaten
- very fine bread crumbs or cracker meal
vegetable oil for frying
In a large heavy-bottomed skillet bring 1 to 2 inches or oil to medium high heat. Fry 5 or 6 croquettes at a time until golden on all sides, turning with a slotted spoon. Transfer them to a paper-towel lined platter. Keep in a warm oven until you have fried all that you desire.