Croquetas de jamon (ham croquettes)

Yield: 45 Servings

Measure Ingredient
¼ pounds (1 stick) salted butter
7 teaspoons All-purpose flour
2 cups Milk, scalded
2 cups Finely chopped cooked ham
1 teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon Freshly grated nutmeg
3 teaspoons Fresh lime juice, plus extra for sprinkling
1 tablespoon Finely chopped fresh parsley
2 cups Very fine bread crumbs
1 large Egg, lightly beaten
\N \N Peanut or vegetable oil for frying
1 each In a large skillet over low heat, melt the butter. When it begins to

foam, blend in the flour, then gradually whisk in the milk until the mixture thickens into a smooth paste. Do not overcook or it will get lumpy. Add the ham, salt, pepper, nutmeg, lime juice, and parsley, and continue cooking over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat. 2. Spoon the mixture into a pan or platter and let it cool thoroughly. (After it has reached room temperature, it can be refrigerated.) 3. Sprinkle a light layer of bread crumbs on a work surface. Scoop up 1 tablespoon of the cooled ham mixture and shape it into a cylinder about 1½ inches long and ¾ inch in diameter. Dip it in the beaten egg and then in the crumbs, and repeat with the remaining mixture, renewing the crumbs when necessary. (The recipe can be prepared to this point one day ahead of time and refrigerated overnight.) 4. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet or deep fryer over medium-high heat, heat 2 to 5 inches of oil to 375 degrees, or until a drop of the mixture sizzles when it touches the oil, and fry 5 to 6 croquettes at a time until golden on all sides, turning with a slotted spoon. Do not fry too many at once, or the oil temperature will fall and they will be soggy rather than crisp. Transfer them to a paper-towel-lined platter to drain, keep warm in the oven until you have finished frying the rest, and serve sprinkled with fresh lime juice. Makes 45 To 50 Croquettes Mary Urrutia Randelman "Memories of a Cuban Kitchen" (Macmillan, 1992) CROQUETAS DE JAMON Ham Croquettes

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