Yesterday some friends invited us to a New Years gathering at their home.
A group of us were to attend and so I decided to contribute to the evening by cooking three of my pintxos: a croqueta, a stuffed pepper and a simple tuna canape.
I plan to write all three recipes down here starting with this one, and as this year’s resolutions include continuing to actively support my home-town of San Sebastian in this its year as European Capital of Culture, I am even going to suggest where in town you can find similar pintxos to try when you visit.
Ok, let’s start. may remember that a while back I posted my croquetas de
You may remember that a while back I posted my croquetas de jamon recipe on this blog (here), It is a recipe I often use… so often that I did use it at last New Years gathering. For that reason and to surprise the hosts, I decided on this occasion to be a bit creative and change it.
Cooking time: 30 min + 2 hours chilling + 15 min finishing
This mix makes 24 pieces
1. Use a good dry cured lomo (pork loin). I used a Lomo Iberico de bellota.
2. The cheese will provide depth. I used Idiazabal cheese, my favourite in the whole world. A Basque sheep pressed cheese which you should definitely taste when you visit San Sebastian.
3. As ever, get your blender ready to help with the bechamel if you need. Cooking is about enjoying and if you are not a chef, you should not be harsh on yourself for not having mastered the bechamel yet.
4. For those, who cannot have deep fried food, cook them in a pan with clean oil turning them around regularly to cook evenly and do not overcook. Always lay the cooked croquetas in kitchen paper to remove excess oil.
80 gr of dry cured lomo cut in very small pieces first and then roughly minced with the blender.
80 gr of cheese cut in really small dices
1/2 onion mashed in the blender
20 gr of butter
1 spoon of olive oil
2 spoonful of plain white flour (heaped. i.e. as tall as you can)
1 pint of luke warm milk
For the bread coating;
Good quality breadcrumbs
1 large beaten egg
Fry the onion in the butter and the olive oil on slow heat until takes a honey colour.
Add the flour and mix until there is an even oil coating on the paste and cook the paste for a couple of minutes. (Should the mix be dry, you can add a drop of oil)
The cheat version is that you cook this paste for a couple of minutes, then move it to the blender beaker, add some of the milk and blend. Continue to add milk (up to 1/2 of the total) until you have a homogenous pure that you can bring back to the low heat.
The traditional one is that as soon as the mix is coated, you add the milk slowly making sure that you dissolve the flour fully. (roughly with 1/2 of the milk.)
After five minutes (constantly stirring the mix with a wooden spoon as béchamel has a tendency to stick to the pan which you need to keep under control), you can add the cheese and the lomo and continue to cook.
Remember to continue to incorporate the rest of the milk in the mix.
Cook for 15/20 minutes as necessary.
This mix should be quite thick and you will know that it is cooked when it starts behaving like a “dough”. I.e. when it will no longer be a cream and as you stir it, will come off from the pan and move around the pan following the spoon.
When it is ready, remove from the heat and let it cool. It helps to do this in a shallow but wide dish or separating the mix in two bowls. (The mix should be roughly 1.5 cm tall… roughly the width of a thumb… mine at least)
When it is completely cold, prepare one bowl with the egg beaten, one shallow plate with breadcrumbs and a clean plate to lay the coated balls.
Wash your hands, cut square cubes and shape them into balls with the palm of your hands. Dip them in the beaten egg, then the breadcrumbs and finally place them on the plate.or cuboids which you can then shape with your hands as you first deep into the egg and then coat with the
Chill them for half and hour for the balls to gain consistency and avoid bursts during the frying process.
Finally, fry and enjoy with good company!
Photograph by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate
Recipe by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate
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