These little crunchy munchies are perfect for game day or for an elegant tapas night. They are universally delicious and satisfying.
Manchego is a buttery, semi-creamy sheep’s milk cheese from Spain. Although it sounds fancy, you can get this cheese from the nice part of the store (Bridesmaids anyone?) in most grocery establishments. It’s so good!!!!!
The Serrano Ham is very similar to the Italian Prosciutto. I actually ended up using prosciutto when I made this the other day cuz my store didn’t have no Serrano Ham. Serrano is usually a little drier, which makes it much easier to crumble up inside of these croquettes, but prosciutto works really nicely too. They are both a salted, cured, dried ham.
I made these for a little Spanish themed dinner, but you can make them football shaped and they are ideal for Super Bowl festivities.
Start off assembling your filling.
Chop up your onion.
This is how I chop them.
Then saute them in a nice hot cast iron skillet with a little butter and olive oil until they are nice and soft but not too brown.
Grate dat chee.
Chop up your cured ham.
So I used rice to hold these little babies together, but you could substitute mashed potato for the rice. I happened to have left over rice, so boom, rice. But, they also taste good with taters.
Combine the onion, cheese, ham, 2 eggs, rice, and a LITTLE salt, and a LOT of pepper. You don’t want to add too much salt because the ham and cheese are already really salty. About 2 teaspoons will do ya.
Get yer hands dirty.
Now it’s time to get your breading stations going.
I usually use cake or pie pans for this process. They don’t take up that much room and they are easy to move around if needed.
In one pan whisk together 1 1/2 cups of flour and one teaspoon of salt and of pepper.
In another pan whisk together 4 eggs with a teaspoon of salt and pepper.
In your last pan stir together panko bread crumbs and, you guessed it, another teaspoon of both salt and pep. Panko crumbs are already nice and crunchy, so these end up super crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside!!!
Now grab about a golf ball sized amount of filling and roll it into a nice little ball.
Roll it in the flour mixture.
Then the egg mixture.
Then the panko mixture.
Make sure to completely coat each time.
Place them all on a nice big tray until you are ready to fry.
Now is a good time to mix up the spicy, garlicky aioli. I hate mayo but love aioli. Pretty weird, huh? Does anyone out there share this sentiment?
Add mayo to the bowl.
Then toss in some Sriracha. The bestest American Asian hot sauce money can buy.
Add in the onion powder.
Now add a hefty amount of hot paprika.
And plenty of freshly grated or diced garlic. It’s nice to use the microplane, because it grates the garlic so finely that it can be evenly dispersed in the sauce.
Set it aside in the fridge to let the flavors meld together.
Get that oil heating up. You’ll want it on medium high. Test it out with a little chunk of bread crumbs. If it sizzles right away but doesn’t burn, then you are good to go.
Only place 3-4 croquettes in at a time, so the oil isn’t overcrowded. The croquettes can actually decrease the temperature of the oil if there are too many in there, and it will not cook properly.
You can always put more oil in a larger pan if you need to get them done more quickly.
Fry for about 3 minutes, or if your pan is shallow, about 1 1/2 minutes on each side.
Let them drain on a plate lined with a paper towel. Repeat until they are all finished!
Let them cool very slightly, top with a little parmesan cheese and some parsley if it suits your fancy and dip away!!
- 1 large onion diced
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 cups shredded manchego cheese
- 1/4 lb. serrano (or prosciutto) ham
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup cooked rice (cooled)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups panko bread crumbs
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 3 teaspoons pepper
- 3-5 cups oil (preferably grape seed, peanut, or safflower) and light colored oil will do.
- After onion has been diced, heat an iron skillet on medium, add butter and then onion. Saute the onion until soft, about 2 minutes.
- Chop ham finely.
- Combine ham, manchego, egg, and cooled onions, and cooked rice completely in a large bowl.
- Add salt and pepper.
- Combine flour with 1 tsp. salt and pepper in a pie plate or cake pan.
- Combine eggs with 1 tsp. salt and pepper in another pan.
- Combine panko bread crumbs with 1 tsp. salt and pepper in another pan.
- Roll a golf sized ball of the filling into a tight ball.
- Dip into the flour and coat completely.
- Then dip into the egg mixture and coat.
- Then dip into panko and coat.
- Place on a large sheet until you are ready to fry.
- Repeat until you are out of filling.
- Heat the oil in a deep sauce pan on medium high.
- Fry 3-4 croquettes at one time until golden brown, about 3 minutes.
- Remove from oil and drain on paper towel lined plate.
- Serve with aioli!
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 Tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons hot paprika
- 1 teaspoon agave nectar
- 3 cloves garlic, grated
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined.
- Serve with fries, croquettes, artichokes, or really anything.