Croquetas de Jamón
- 3 1/4 cups milk
- 1/2 large yellow onion
- 2 whole cloves
- 1/2 tsp. peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 7 oz. serrano ham, minced
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/4 cups very fine bread crumbs
- 3 quarts canola oil
- Chopped fresh chives for garnish
In another saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook for 30 seconds. Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly until incorporated. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thickened and smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, fold in the ham and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the ham mixture to a bowl and let cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
In 1 pan of a breading set or in a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Spread the bread crumbs out in another pan or on a plate. To form each croqueta, scoop out about 2 Tbs. of the ham mixture with 1 spoon and use another spoon to form the mixture into an oval shape. Transfer to a plate. Gently dip each croqueta into the beaten eggs and then into the bread crumbs, coating well.
In a deep fryer or large pot, heat the oil to 325ºF. Working in batches (do not overcrowd), fry the croquetas until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain.
Arrange the croquetas on a warmed platter, garnish with chives and serve immediately. Makes about 30 croquetas.