Croquetas caseras

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Meaning 'homemade croquettes', this authentic recipe from José Pizarro makes for a classic Spanish tapas dish. These are flavoured with delicate crab meat and softened leeks, but in José's restaurant, the fillings change regularly. The key is the juxtaposition of textures, from the rich, oozing filling to crisp, golden exterior.

First published in 2015
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Add the milk to a saucepan and bring to the boil. In a separate pan, melt the butter over a low heat, then stir in the flour
  • 1l milk
  • 250g of butter, plus extra for frying
  • 150g of plain flour
Cook gently for 5 minutes without letting it brown, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon to remove any lumps
Add the hot milk a little at a time, stirring all the time until it is all added and you have a smooth béchamel
Add the chopped leek to a frying pan with a little butter and sweat down until soft
  • 1 leek, finely chopped
Stir the softened leeks and the crab into the béchamel, then transfer the mixture to a shallow dish. Spread in an even layer, press a piece of clingfilm over the surface, then chill overnight
After chilling, roll 30g portions of the mixture into small balls, you should get about 35 golf ball-sized portions. Lightly oiling your hands first can help
Place the balls on a plate or baking tray and return to the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes to firm up
Heat the oil for deep-frying to 190°C. Place the beaten eggs and breadcrumbs in separate, shallow dishes
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 200g of breadcrumbs, made from stale, crustless white bread
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
Dip the balls first in the beaten eggs, then roll to coat in the breadcrumbs. Deep-fry in batches of 4 or 5 for 2 minutes, until crisp and lightly golden
Drain any excess oil on kitchen paper, season with salt and a little freshly ground white pepper, then serve hot
First published in 2015

With a focus on simple, authentic Spanish cuisine, chef José Pizarro has been at the forefront of bringing true tapas to London.

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