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SPAIN: Ham Croquettes


Ham Croquettes

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for deep-frying

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups whole milk, heated

3 ounces jamón serrano or other dry-cured ham, finely chopped

Salt

2 eggs

2 tablespoons fine dried bread crumbs

  1. In a saucepan, heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil and the butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the flour and, using a wooden spoon or whisk, mix well. Continue to stir or whisk for about 2 minutes, or until the flour is well blended.

  2. Add 1/2 cup of the milk and increase the heat to medium-high. Bring the mixture to a boil and add the remaining cup of milk. Cook, stirring constantly with the spoon or whisk, for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture begins to thicken. Decrease the heat to medium and cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes, or until thickened.

  3. Add the jamon serrano. Cook for 1 minute longer and then pour the contents of the pan into the prepared dish. Spread the mixture evenly. Let cool overnight.

  4. Break the eggs into a bowl and beat lightly. Spread the bread crumbs on a dinner plate. With wet hands shape the béchamel-ham mixture into walnut-sized balls. Roll each croquette in the bread crumbs, shaking off any excess crumbs, and then dip into the beaten egg. Lift each croquette from the egg and roll it again in the bread crumbs, coating it evenly. Lay the croquettes in a single layer on a platter. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before frying.

  5. Heat sauté pan over high heat, with about 2 inches of olive oil. Slip 5 or 6 croquettes into the oil, fry, turning them gently, for about 2 minutes until they are golden on all sides. Transfer to an ovenproof platter lined with paper towels to drain further. Keep the croquettes warm in a low oven.

Pan con Tomate

1 loaf rustic bread

2 large tomatos

salt

  1. Slice bread into ½ inch slices and toast lightly on both sides

  2. Cut tomato into quarters

  3. Rub tomato on bread. Salt and serve

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FUN FACTS:

  • The word Spain is derived from the word Ispania, which means ‘the land of rabbits.’

  • Team sports are not included in the school programs there. Therefore, the Spaniards have to join private clubs if they want to play any type of team sports.

  • Madrid, Spain’s capital city, is located in the exact center of the country.

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