These snacks are ubiquitous throughout Spain.
Their origins suggest thrift — these were a way to make fish or meat stretch into another dish and to avoid wasting any scraps.
On a recent trip to Miami, I lucked into a multicourse dinner cooked by renowned Chef Aitor Garate Barasaluze, an alumnus of Michelin-starred Leku, and the second course was a pair of fish croquettes that I can’t get out of my head.
The restaurant had a deep fryer, which ensured even and quick cooking, but if you are willing to splurge on oil, these can be replicated in a home kitchen. The only caveat is that the filling needs to chill thoroughly before it can be formed into croquettes, so this does require some advance planning. This recipe is a good way to use leftover fish.
Makes about 10-12 croquettes
For the filling:
1 tablespoon butter
½ tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup flour
1 cup milk
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ cup cooked cod or other whitefish, chopped
For the breading:
½ cup panko seasoned with salt and pepper
1-2 cups Canola oil
Melt the butter and oil together in a small saucepan on medium heat. Add the flour and stir; continue stirring to lightly brown the flour and create a roux, about 3 minutes. Add the milk slowly, stirring to blend with a whisk.
Lower the heat, and continue stirring to blend in the milk and create a smooth, creamy sauce. Add the fish, salt and pepper. Remove it from the heat, cool and refrigerate until well chilled — several hours or overnight.
In a small, shallow bowl, beat the egg. Place the panko in another shallow bowl.
Lightly coat your hands with flour, and form croquettes with the cod mixture. Dip each croquette in egg, then panko to coat. Set them on a plate.
Heat the oil in a skillet or a saucepan; it should be deep enough to cover the croquettes halfway. The oil is hot enough when a crumb sizzles when it is dropped in.
Cook the croquettes in batches, a few at a time, for about 8 minutes each. Do not crowd the pan, and turn the croquettes carefully to avoid breaking them and to ensure even browning/crisping.
When done, place the croquettes on paper towels to drain. Serve hot.