Recipe of the Week – Smoked Salmon & Dill Croquetas

A delicious Spanish recipe from

Jose Pizzaro

(Dentist turned Chef! )

They can be a bit fiddly to make, but they can be frozen and make great party food when served with a glass of chilled cava or Bucks Fizz!

Ingredients:  Makes 15 to 20 Croquetas

4 tablespoons olive oil

½ small leek, diced as small as possible – 3mm pieces

70g smoked salmon, sliced very finely

60g plain flour

75ml vegetable stock

325ml whole milk

Freshly grated nutmeg

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

75g plain flour

2 large eggs, beaten

75g dried breadcrumbs

1 tbsp dill, chopped finely

Olive oil, for frying

Method

Heat the olive oil in a pan until it starts to sizzle, then add the leek and sauté until soft but not browning. Fry for another minute, then stir in the flour and fry over a medium heat until the mixture is golden but not burnt. This will take about 5 minutes. It is important that the flour is cooked properly otherwise the croquetas will taste floury.

Combine the stock and milk in a small pan and heat until hot but not boiling. Season the liquid with a few scrapes of nutmeg. Gradually add the liquid to the roux, a few tablespoons at a time, stirring the mixture all the time. Once you have incorporated all the milk, continue to cook the sauce for about 10 minutes or until it thickens and leaves the sides of the pan when you stir it. At this stage, add a couple of turns of the pepper mill, the dill and smoked salmon – taste the roux and adjust the salt if necessary. The sauce is now done: it’s got to be really thick because you don’t want the croquetas to turn into pancakes! Smooth the mixture on to a baking tray (30cm x 20cm is fine) then cover with clingfilm to stop it drying out. Leave it to cool before putting it in the fridge for an hour.

When you are ready for the next stage, line up three bowls: one with flour, the other with beaten egg, and the third with the breadcrumbs. The shape of the croquettes is up to you, but the easiest is a walnut-shaped ball. Take the salmon mixture out of the fridge.

Dust your hands with flour, make a ball with the mixture and roll it between your palms. The size of the croquetas is up to you, but the easiest is a walnut-sized ball. Next, dunk the croqueta into the flour – you want a dusting – followed by the egg and then the breadcrumbs. Put the croquetas on a tray and when you’ve used up all the mixture, put them all back in the fridge for 30 minutes.

If you have a deep fat fryer, heat the oil to 175°C/325°F and fry the croquetas for a couple of minutes. If not, heat the oil in a frying pan until it starts to sizzle, then add 3 or 4 croquetas at a time and fry until they are golden all over.