April 18, 2023 · ,

Croquetas or Croquettes: Your Guide to this Special Spanish Staple

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Hey everyone, we’re back with another one of our foodie recommendations, and today we’re exploring the world of croquettes in Málaga, Spain.

These little bites of heaven have been a staple in Spanish cuisine for generations, and they continue to be enjoyed by locals and visitors just as much as Louis XIV did back in the day in France where these balls of crispy goodness originated. A fun fact is that Louis XIV was commonly known as ‘The King of Croquettes’. 

spanish croquetas

So, How did These Tasty Treats Come To Be?

Croquettes have an interesting history, dating back to the 18th century. Originally, they were made with leftover meat or fish, mixed with béchamel sauce and then fried to create a crispy exterior. These little bites became popular in Spain, and since then, chefs have experimented with all kinds of fillings to create a variety of flavors and textures.

One of the most popular types of croquettes is the classic ham and cheese (jamon y queso). This savory croquette features a creamy interior made with a mixture of, well, ham and cheese, wrapped in a crispy breadcrumb coating. Other popular fillings include chicken, spinach, and cod.

During our croquette adventure in Málaga, we visited some of the best croquette spots in the city.

croquetas food in malaga

Our first stop was El Pimpi, a traditional bar and restaurant that’s been serving up croquettes since 1971. The head chef, Juanita, said they use only the freshest ingredients and advanced cooking techniques. Their ham croquettes were crispy and crunchy on the outside and had a deliciously creamy inside.

Next up was Casa Aranda, a café that’s been serving croquettes since 1932. Their chicken croquettes were crispy outside and juicy inside. We also tried their spinach and cheese croquettes, which were absolutely delicious.

La Tranca was our next stop, a local bar that’s been serving up croquettes for ages. Bartender Paco said their spinach and cheese croquettes were a customer favorite. They had the perfect ratio of a creamy filling and crispy outside border.

croquettas spanish food

Mesón de Cervantes was next on our list, a traditional Spanish restaurant serving authentic cuisine for generations. Chef Jesus said their cod croquettes were made according to a family recipe. They were mouth-watering with the perfect cod flavor that goes perfect that crispy deep fried coating. 

Last but not least, we hit up Los Mellizos, a seafood restaurant and a Málaga institution since 1994. As a seafood restaurant, it was only right to try their cod croquettes, which were outstanding.

We created a chart to rate each restaurant based on factors like flavor, texture, and experience. Here’s how they ranked:

RestaurantFlavorTextureExperience
El Pimpi545
Casa Aranda444
La Tranca353
Mesón de Cervantes554
Los Mellizos445

El Pimpi and Mesón de Cervantes were tied for the top spot. Both delivered croquettes that were packed with flavor and had the perfect texture.

So What Makes This Spanish Staple So Special?

This fundamental part of Spanish cuisine is more than just a delicious treat, they are also a symbol of Spanish culture which speaks to their perseverance, resourcefulness, and creativity.  Their ability to turn leftover ingredients into something so iconically tasty is quite a feat. 

Croquettes have become so popular in Spain that they’re now considered one of the country’s  national dishes. You won’t only find these tasty treats in Málaga. Croquettes are served all over the country, with each region adding their own special touch to this classic dish. From the jamón ibérico croquettes in Madrid to the chorizo croquettes in Barcelona, there’s no shortage of different options and varieties to try on the iberían peninsula. 

best spanish croquetas spanish food

Over the past couple of decades these little fried balls have gained popularity all over the world. They have become very popular in Latin America and all across Europe, as well as The United States.

The next time you find yourself in Málaga, you cannot miss the opportunity to try some of the city’s best alongside an ice cold beverage on the beach. As previously mentioned, there is a croquette for everyone, so don’t be shy and make sure you try as many different varieties as you can, from classic to modern, you will be pleasantly surprised by all of the new flavors you try. 

Finally, check out this perfectly traditional, yet simple croquetee recipe so you can also make these tasty treats right at home:

IngredientsAmount
Butter50g
All-purpose flour50g
Milk500ml
Salt1 tsp
Ground black pepper1/2 tsp
Nutmeg1/4 tsp
Serrano ham, diced100g
Manchego cheese, grated100g
Bread crumbs200g
Eggs2
Olive oilfor frying

Instructions:

  1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add flour and stir constantly for 1-2 minutes until the mixture becomes a paste (roux).
  3. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking constantly to avoid lumps.
  4. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and continue cooking over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and becomes a smooth, creamy béchamel sauce (around 10-12 minutes).
  5. Add the diced Serrano ham and grated Manchego cheese to the béchamel sauce, stirring until the cheese melts and the ham is evenly distributed.
  6. Transfer the mixture to a shallow dish or baking sheet and let it cool down to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  7. Once the mixture has chilled and solidified, use a spoon to form small balls or cylinders (around 2-3 cm in diameter).
  8. Beat the eggs in a shallow bowl and put the bread crumbs in another shallow bowl.
  9. Dip each croquette in the egg mixture, then roll it in the bread crumbs until it’s evenly coated.
  10. Heat olive oil in a deep frying pan over medium-high heat until it’s hot but not smoking.
  11. Fry the croquettes in batches, turning them occasionally, until they’re golden brown and crispy on all sides (around 3-4 minutes per batch).
  12. Drain the croquettes on paper towels to remove excess oil, then serve hot.

What’s Next?

Now that you have learned all about this special Spanish cuisine, are you ready to immerse yourself in the Spanish culture and discover even more? Whether you are looking to start a new adventure, embarking on your Spanish language learning journey, or improve your Spanish speaking skills, don’t hesitate and get signed up today for our Spanish course in Málaga and let the adventure begin! What are you waiting for?

To sum it all up, croquettes are a beloved dish in Málaga, Spain, and there’s a croquette out there for everyone. From classic ham and cheese to spinach and cod and different ‘mariscos’, there’s no shortage of flavors and textures to choose from. So next time you’re in Málaga, be sure to stop by one of these top croquette joints, as well as get some Spanish lessons under your belt so you can discuss your favorite croquettes with the locals!

Bonus tip: Here is another recipe in case you want to try something a bit different:

Introduction: There’s nothing quite like the taste of authentic Spanish croquettes. These bite-sized morsels are the perfect way to bring the flavors of Spain into your own kitchen. Our recipe for these crispy, creamy treats is perfect for sharing with friends or serving as an appetizer at your next dinner party. So let’s dive into the world of Spanish cuisine and learn how to make these delicious croquetas caseras!

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups finely chopped cooked ham, chicken, or fish (your choice)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (for dredging)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs (preferably Panko)
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the béchamel sauce: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring continuously, for 2 minutes. Gradually add the milk and chicken broth, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, cooking until they are soft and translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add the chopped meat or fish, and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the fresh parsley.
  3. Combine the béchamel sauce and the cooked meat mixture, stirring until well combined. Transfer the mixture to a shallow dish and let it cool for 10 minutes. Then, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until the mixture is firm and cold.
  4. Once the mixture is cold and firm, shape it into croquettes: using your hands or a spoon, scoop out about 1-2 tablespoons of the mixture and shape it into a small cylinder or oval. Repeat until all the mixture is used.
  5. Set up your dredging station: Place the flour in a shallow dish, the beaten eggs in a separate dish, and the breadcrumbs in a third dish. Coat each croquette first in flour, shaking off any excess, then dip it in the beaten eggs, and finally roll it in the breadcrumbs, ensuring an even coating.
  6. In a deep frying pan, heat about 2 inches of vegetable oil to 350°F (180°C). Fry the croquettes in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan, for 3-4 minutes, turning them occasionally until they are golden brown and crispy. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the croquettes to a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil.
  7. Allow the croquettes to cool slightly before serving. For a truly authentic Spanish experience, serve your croquetas caseras with a side of aioli or your favorite dipping sauce. ¡Buen provecho!

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