Lake Isle Press

Serrano Ham Croquettes

Croquettes are everywhere in Spain—but, too often, they are doughy and heavy. So I went in search of a better croquette. The secret? While most Spanish croquette recipes call for a flour-and-water roux, this one calls for gelatin. The difference is amazing.

Serrano Ham Croquettes


  • 3 ounces pork butt, diced small
  • 1/4 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup small diced Spanish onion
  • 2 tablespoons small diced red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 ounce ham fat
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 sheet gelatin
  • 1 ounce serrano ham butt, diced small


Makes 12 croquettes

In a braising pan, combine diced pork butt and vegetable oil. Over medium-low heat, render the pork until crisp. Add onion, peppers, butter, and ham fat. Cook over medium heat until peppers and onions are soft. Reduce heat to low and add flour. Mix thoroughly and cook 10 minutes, stirring several times. Add milk gradually, incorporating with a rubber spatula, as the mixture thickens and becomes smooth. Bloom gelatin in ice water. Squeeze excess water from bloomed gelatin sheets, and stir gelatin into mixture until dissolved. Turn off heat and add serrano ham. Mix thoroughly. Pour onto a sheet tray and cool.

Roll into 2-tablespoon cylinders, place on a tray lined with parchment. Put in the freezer to set, 1 hour. Serrano ham croquettes can be frozen for up to 1 week.

To bread croquettes, arrange 3 large bowls. Place flour in first bowl. Whisk eggs in second bowl. Place bread crumbs in third bowl. Working with no more than 10 brandade or ham croquettes at a time, drop croquettes into flour, shaking bowl until croquettes are completely coated. Remove croquettes from flour, shaking off excess, and put into bowl with eggs. Shake bowl until croquettes are completely covered in egg. Remove croquettes from egg, shake off excess, and put into bowl with bread crumbs. Shake bowl until croquettes are evenly coated. Remove croquettes from bread crumbs, shake off excess and place on a tray lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate, uncovered. Breaded croquettes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

In a fryer or deep, heavy-bottomed 4-quart pan, heat vegetable oil to 350°F. Drop croquettes into the fryer until golden brown, about 30 seconds. Place on paper towels to drain.

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