There are very few things the Dutch and the Spanish have in common. Croquettes, and the 2010 World Cup Final seem to be about the extent of it. Croquettes were, along with mustard soup and the aforementioned frites/mayo combination, the other Dutch food item I could get on board with.
For those not in the know, croquettes are small tubes of breadcrumb coated deep fried flavoured bechamely dough. They are a very divisive food among foreigners in Holland, due mainly to the fact that they are sold from vending machines. This disturbed me at first. Vending machines, to my mind, were suitable only for food which could be used to stock a post-apocalypse bomb shelter. The first time I went to order one, I decided to avoid the vending machine and go and order one from the nice person behind the counter. He went over to the back of the vending machine, opened it, removed one, and handed it to me. Lesson learnt.
They were dangerous food for me, as they are essentially snack sized, and thus justifiable on the way home from work in a way that chips just weren’t.Croquettes are also pretty ubiquitous tapas everywhere in Spain, tending usually to be made from chicken and ham (the Dutch ones also feature cheesy ham, or ground up mystery meat, or my personal favourite, satay). This recipe is a slightly more elegant, Spanish inspired one, but that doesn’t make me love or miss the Dutch variety any less. The day I made this, due to a particularly obscure craving, I served them with tartare sauce but aioli with a little lime zest is usually a better plan. If that seems like too much effort, some seasoned creme fraiche is pretty nice too.
For Croquettas (makes 25-30)
- 60g of butter
- 65g of cream flour
- 150 ml of white wine
- 85ml of vegetable stock
- 85 ml of milk
- 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 120g of chopped chorizo
- 60g grated hard, mature cheese, eg parmesan, cheddar, oude gouda
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 200g of breadcrumbs
- 9 Tablespoons olive oil
For Lime Aioli
- 100g good quality mayonnaise
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 small garlic clove, crushed
- Melt butter with 5 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat.
- Add flour and stir for 2-3 minutes, until a roux (sticky paste consistency) forms
- Stir in wine, milk, stock, nutmeg and paprika.
- Stir until the mixture thickens, approximately 1 minute.
- Add chorizo and cheese, and cook for five minutes, stirring every 30 seconds or so for 5 minutes, or until the mixture is thick.
- Spread on a plate and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Place egg and breadcrumbs in 2 separate bowls.
- Form a thick cylinder with the refigerated mixture, about twice the length and width of your thumb (unless you have unusually large hands)
- Dip in egg, and then breadcrumbs, until coated
- Heat remaining oil in a pan, should be a depth of about 1/2 inch, and fry over medium heat until golden, turning occasionally. This should take about two minutes
- Drain on plate lined with kitchen paper.
- To make aioli, mix ingredients together.