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Jamon croquetas (croquette)

The secret is to end up with a bechamel that is only just thick enough to handle
MAKES 40

For the becharnel
500rn1 whole milk
2 bay leaves
4 Up good quality light olive oil
80g slightly salted butter
125g jaman senano cubes or strips
70g plain flour
pinch of sea salt

For the breadaumbs
I small loaf of good quality white bread
4 free-range eggs, beaten

For frying:
500ml vegetable or groundnut oil

Pour the milk into a saucepan, add the bay leaves and slowly bring to the boil. Take off the heat and leave to infuse.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large frying pan, add the Jambi cubes and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes.

Add the flour and salt, mix well and cook for three

minutes. Remove the bay leaves from the milk, then add it little by little to the mix, stirring, for 10 minutes.

When the milk is almost all used, the becharnel should b smooth and thick. Add the rest of the milk for one minute. Put the b6chamel on to a large plate and refrigerate it for at least two hours

Slice the bread, remove the crusts and let it dry overnight.

Break up the bread and whiz to fine crumbs in a blender Pour the eggs on to another plate.

To shape the croquetas, form the bechamel mix into quenelles. Dip the quenelles into the beaten egg, then coat i the breadcrumbs. Gently shape the croquetas, about 4cm in length. Repeat to use all of the mixture, then chill in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

Heat the oil in a deep-fryer and cook the croquetas, foul or five at a time. Carefully immerse in the hot oil and deep-f for 2-3 minutes. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Serve the croquetas straight away.


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