Croquettes: Spain’s Minor Obsession With Fried Leftovers
Croquettes are a heavenly invention– especially ham croquettes in Spain. But the Spanish aren’t the only people to make these delicious fried goodies. Croquettes are simply a breadcrumbed and fried roll of food leftovers, usually bound with bechamel sauce or mashed potatoes. They are popular in countries all around the world, and although they may not sound like a gourmet invention, I assure you that when made well, they are priceless.
Spain specializes in croquettes, a culinary tradition stemming from its frugal past. The most popular versions are:
- Ham Croquettes (Croquetas de Jamón Serrano)
- Pulled Chicken Croquettes (Croquetas de Puchero AKA Croquetas de Pollo)
- Mushroom Croquettes (Croquetas de Boletus)
- Cod Croquettes (Croquetas de Bacalao)
- Shrimp Croquettes (Croquetas de Gambas)
Additionally, you can find Spanish restaurants offering more exotic croquettes or vegetarian varieties like:
- Spinach & Pine Nut Croquettes (Croquetas de Espinacas y Piñones)
- Blood Sausage Croquettes (Croquetas de Morcilla)
- Beef Cheek Croquettes (Croquetas de Carrillada)
- Garbanzo Bean Croquettes (Croquetas de Garbanzos)
Each croquette has a completely different flavor and recipe, although most use a thick bechamel sauce as their base. When visiting Spain tasting croquettes is a must, and if you only try one type they should be the most typical and delicious– Serrano Ham Croquettes. These crispy fried morsels just melt in your mouth. You would swear they had lots of cheese (they don’t!) or perhaps mashed potatoes (nope!).
To find out their secret: Ham Croquette Recipe
On a Madrid Food Tour we make sure to try some of Madrid’s best croquettes, and also leave you with recommendations to search out some others. A visit to Madrid just wouldn’t be complete without them!
Lauren grew up in an Italian-American family where 3-hour meals were the norm. After 10 years in the restaurant industry, she moved to Spain where she launched her popular Spanish food blog, Spanish Sabores, and soon after led groups on the first Devour Madrid food tours.