The crispy, savory bites known as croquetas are enjoyed as a tapa throughout Spain. They are often made with mashed potatoes and ground or chopped meat (such as the chicken used here), and then lightly breaded and deep-fried. To ensure your croquetas emerge perfectly crisp, be sure to maintain the frying oil at 365°F (185°C) and don’t crowd the pan. Serve with a simple garlic aioli for dipping.
For the croquetas:
1 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup (3 oz./90 g) minced cooked chicken
1/4 cup (1 1/4 oz./40 g) fresh or thawed frozen peas
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Tbs. milk
1 cup (5 oz./155 g) plus 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
2 cups (8 oz./250 g) dried bread crumbs
2 cups (15 oz./470 g) cold mashed potatoes
Canola, olive or other vegetable oil for deep-frying
For the garlic aioli:
1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) mayonnaise
2 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. smoked paprika
To make the croquetas, in a sauté pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, then fold in the chicken, peas and a large pinch each of salt and pepper.
In a shallow bowl, whisk together 2 of the eggs and the milk until blended. Place the 1 cup (5 oz./155 g) flour and the bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In another bowl, combine the mashed potatoes, the remaining egg and the 2 Tbs. flour and fold until blended. Have a bowl of cold water ready. Get your hands wet but not dripping with water. Place about 2 Tbs. of the mashed potato mixture in one hand and flatten into a thick oval shape. Add about 2 tsp. of the chicken mixture and form the mashed potatoes into a log, sealing the chicken mixture in the center. Roll in the flour, then in the egg mixture and finally in the bread crumbs. Set the croqueta on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
In a large, deep fry pan over medium-high heat, pour in oil to a depth of 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm) and heat to 365°F (185°C) on a deep-frying thermometer. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
Carefully place 3 or 4 croquetas in the hot oil (do not crowd the pan) and cook, turning as needed, until golden brown on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining croquetas.
To make the garlic aioli, in a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice, paprika and a large pinch of salt.
Serve the croquetas hot with the aioli alongside. Makes 20 to 25 croquetas; serves 6 to 8.
Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen