George Ward hankers after a mouthwatering Spanish treat:
I’d gone off croquetas until I had them recently at Harbour Street Tapas, Whitstable when I rediscovered how fresh and vivid freshly cooked ones can be. They coat theirs in Panko breadcrumbs for a light, non-greasy finish.
Add diced ham, bacon or anchovies to ring the changes.
Spinach And Goat’s Cheese Croquetas
Prep Time: 30 minutes plus at least two hours’ chilling time
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Serving Size: 32-34 croquetas
500g baby leaf spinach
400ml whole milk
120ml strong vegetable stock
60g plain flour
75g Gruff goat’s cheese, crumbled
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
2 large free-range eggs, beaten
60g dry breadcrumbs
Olive oil for deep-frying
Heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the spinach with a tiny splash of water. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until completely wilted, then run under cold water. Once cold, squeeze out all the water. Chop finely and set aside.
In a saucepan, heat the milk and the stock together. In another saucepan, melt the butter over a medium heat, add the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes. When the mixture starts to colour, begin adding the milk and stock very slowly until you get a really silky smooth mix. This will take approximately 10 minutes.
Add the cheese to the mixture slowly, then add the spinach and stir constantly until it is well combined. Season with salt, pepper and a grating of nutmeg.
Spread the mixture onto a shallow tray and press a sheet of clingfilm over the top. Cool in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours.
Put some oil in the palm of your hand and roll the mixture into approx. 30g balls (or walnut-sized). If they are a little soft, pop them on a tray in the freezer to firm up for 30 minutes.
Place the beaten egg and the breadcrumbs into two separate bowls. Dip the croquetas first into the beaten egg and then into the breadcrumbs.
Heat the oil to 180°C (350°F) and fry the croquetas for around 2 minutes or until golden. Drain on paper towels, then eat straight away.