Croquetas de gambas
Croquetas are ubiquitous in Spain, although they most likely originate
from the French 'croquettes'. Their beauty lies in the bechamel base which is
then mixed with your particular ingredient of choice to give it a characteristic
flavor. The possibilities are almost endless - here we have used prawns.
- 3 1/2 oz butter
- 4 oz plain flour
- 1 1/4 pints cold milk
- salt and pepper
- 14 oz cooked peeled prawns, diced
- 2 teaspoons tomato puree
- 5 or 6 tablespoons fine breadcrumbs
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- olive oil for deep-frying
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and add the flour, stirring
continuously. Allow the flour to cook in the butter for a couple of minutes,
continuing to stir.
Start adding the cold milk little by little, stirring all the while until you
have a thick, smooth sauce. Add the prawns, season well and stir in the tomato
paste. Continue to cook for 7 or 8 minutes. The end result should be quite
thick. Let the mixture cool completely - it is usually a good idea to leave it
Take a scant tablespoon of the mixture and form into a croqueta, a 1 1/2 - 2
inch cylinder. Roll the croqueta in the breadcrumbs, then coat in the beaten
egg, then roll in the breadcrumbs again. Make sure the breadcrumbs are always
dry to ensure an even coating.
Heat the oil for deep-frying in a large, heavy-based pan until the
temperature reaches 350ºF or a cube of bread turns golden brown in 20-30
seconds. Fry in batches of no more than 3 or 4 for about 5 minutes until golden
brown. Remove with a slatted spoon, drain on kitchen paper and serve
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