Serrano ham & cheese croquettas

  • Preparation time: 20 minutes + chilling
  • Cooking time: 15 minutes to 20 minutes
  • Total time: 35-40 minutes + chilling

Makes: 20 Serves: 4-6 as part of a tapas platter


50g unsalted butter
1 bunch salad onions,
finely chopped
95g Serrano ham, finely diced
50g plain flour
400ml hot whole milk
50g Manchego cheese, grated
2 medium Waitrose British Blacktail Eggs, beaten
100g panko breadcrumbs
1 litre vegetable oil, for deep frying


1. Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. When it melts add the salad onions and cook for 3 minutes, until softened, then add half the Serrano ham. Turn the heat down and gradually add the flour, stirring throughout, for 5 minutes. Slowly stir in the hot milk, and cook for 5 minutes further, stirring constantly, until really thick and the sauce leaves the side of the pan when you stir it. Add the remaining Serrano ham. Season.

2. Stir in the grated Manchego, then transfer the mixture to a bowl and allow to cool totally, covering the surface with clingfilm to prevent a skin forming. Place in the fridge and allow to chill for about 2 hours.

3. When ready to cook put the beaten eggs in one shallow bowl and the breadcrumbs in another. Shape the mixture into 20 bullet-like cylinders. Roll the croquettas in the egg first and then in the breadcrumbs until well coated.

4. Heat the vegetable oil in a large heavy-based saucepan to 180°C, or until a cube of bread crisps and turns golden in about 30 seconds. Fry the croquettas, in batches of about 4 -5, for around 2 minutes until golden and crunchy. Lift out with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper before serving as part of a tapas platter with olives, marinated peppers and artichokes, griddled sourdough and semi-dried tomatoes.