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Croquetas recipe: starred croquettes by Casa Marcial

And today we decided to share with you one of hundreds of thousands of croqueta recipes, the croquettes from Casa Marcial, a two Michelin stars family restaurant in Arriondas, a little town in the northern coastal region of Asturias.

By Valeska Idarraga

Some stories about croquetas

Each grandmother is a unique cooking style, and so are croquetas in Spain. Croquettes have always been comfort food for us, made at home by our grandmas and later by our moms, without following any specific croquetas recipe, just cooked off the top of their head as so I am, because the flavor and texture are in my memory forever, they gave a high sentimental value and are part of my modest story.

And I would also like to draw your attention to the fact that no one ordered croquettes in restaurants when I was a child, that was home food. Anyone, until a feverish yearning for croquetas emerged. Cheap and chic, now you can order croquettes both in a bar as a pintxo and in a white-tablecloth restaurant.

And today we decided to share with you one of hundreds of thousands of croquetas recipes, the croquettes from Casa Marcial, a two Michelin stars family restaurant in Arriondas, a little town in the northern coastal region of Asturias.

Chef Nacho Manzano is one of the big names in the Spanish culinary scene, and his croquetas are famous. His great-grandmother started the business in 1898 as a grocery store, then his parents opened the tavern serving local Asturian traditional dishes. Finally in 1993, the modern age started led by Nacho Manzano and his sister Esther, and Casa Marcial became the restaurant as we know it today, set in the same old house where they were born.

 

Travel tip

The region of Asturias has been one of the preferred summer retreats for madrileños, but forgotten by the mass tourism. Listed as one of the 52 Places to Go in 2020 by The New York Times, this unexplored destination is home to the oldest National Park in Spain Picos de Europa, it’s homeland of the widest range of cheeses in the word and its wild nature, beautiful fishing villages, great heritage, dinosaur footprints, industrial and mining heritage, spectacular mountains, valleys and limestone gorges and its winding shoreline which links one town with the next, leads you through the most wonderful coastal scenery. Asturias has  7 UNESCO-listed Biosphere Reserves listed. Why not extending your CÚRATE Trip to Basque Country to explore magical Asturias?

Croquetas recipe

Their starred croquettes are never missing in Casa Marcial, even as aperitif in the more modern menu. They’re made from jamón serrano (country ham), with an almost-liquid béchamel sauce and very lightly breaded. When you bit them, they melt in your mouth.

Ingredients (for about 50 units):

  • 250 gr. Country ham
  • 3 liters Whole milk
  • 240 gr Flour
  • 200 ml Olive oil
  • 40 gr Butter
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Eggs
  • 5 gr Salt
  • Pepper and nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Make a béchamel sauce with ham: add the butter and the olive oil to the pan, melt it and stir-fry the diced ham. When it starts to brown, add the flour and stir constantly – to avoid lumps – while it cooks for about 4 minutes. Then, add the hot milk, and cook for 15 minutes over a strong heat, and then leave to simmer over a low heat for 15 minutes more, stirring all the time. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.
  1. Next, place the preparation into a tray, and keep stirring every 10 minutes until it cools down, and immediately cover it with film (to avoid a crust to form), and place it in the fridge.
  1. Shape the croquetas: I use a tea spoon to get the right amount and my hands to shape them. Conventional croquettes are oval-shaped.
  1. Bread them: prepare two bowls, one with a beaten egg; and one with breadcrumbs (use fine breadcrumbs), and run them in turn through the egg first and the crumbs. Leave to rest for 3 hours in the fridge.
  1. Deep frying: in a pan (or a fryer if you have), heat the oil to 356º F (not higher, you don’t want them to brown too much before they’re heated through). Fry, in batches depending on the size of your pan, until golden brown (turn them once or twice if necessary). Drain on paper towels and transfer to a platter. They’re ready!

 

Cooking tip: as it is a time-consuming preparation, even if you are just two make more quantity and once shaped and breaded freeze them. When you want to enjoy some, simply take them out from the freezer about 10 minutes before deep-frying (so they won’t be cold inside).

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