Croquetas de Cabrales or Cabrales cheese croquettes are small fritters made with thick béchamel sauce seasoned with Cabrales cheese that are then coated in egg, breadcrumbs and deep-fried. Although they are normally oval in shape, you can also find them round like these ones.
Croquetas de Cabrales or Cabrales cheese croquettes are a typical Spanish tapa to be found all over Spain. As with the popular Spanish omelette, each cook/family/region has their own formula. Meat, fish and vegetables leftovers are often given a second chance in the shape of croquettes so the variety of these is neverending.
Although croquettes can also be made with mashed potato, the classic ones are based on a thick, solid, béchamel sauce. The consistency of this is key to the sucess of this recipe. Too thick and our croquettes will be hard to swallow, too runny and shaping them will turn into an impossible task. Butter, all-purpose wheat flour, milk and salt are all that is needed for the béchamel sauce, but homemade broth can be used instead of milk and spices like nutmeg added to enhance its flavour.
The ratios of the ingredients are important for a good result. When making béchamel sauce for croquettes it is important to take the following into account:
- Use the same weight of fat and flour
- The ratio of liquid ingredients to dry ingredients is 9:1
- Low heat and regular stiring are a must, so be patient. This is a sauce that requires love and attention.
Croquettes might seem daunting and impossible at first, but if you closely follow our instructions you will always succeed.
These divine bites can be seasoned with almost any ingredient of your choice: cod, ham and chicken are the most popular flavours, but mushrooms, cheese, boiled egg, prawns and more also make fabulous croquettes.
Cabrales is a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) awarded, Spanish semi-hard, fatty blue cheese, prepared within the administrative region of Cabrales Council (hence its name) and some towns in the Upper Peñamellera region. Both these areas are located at the foot of the Picos de Europa Mountains in Asturias.
Made with cow’s, goat’s and sheep’s milk, Cabrales cheese is matured in natural formed limestone caves where the bluish-green Penicillium mould grows thanks to the humidity of the surroundings.
The strong aroma and sharp, acidic, taste of Cabrales make it a perfect cheese to be used in sauces, melted over grilled meats and, of course, for croquettes.
- 2oz (60g) all-purpose wheat flour
- 2oz (60g) butter
- 1,3 pounds (600g) whole milk
- 3,52oz (100g) Cabrales cheese
- Salt to taste
- All-purpose wheat flour for coating
- 1 large egg for coating
- Breadcrumbs for coating
- Olive oil
- Put the butter in a pan over low heat and melt completely.
- Add the flour and stir-fry constantly stirring with a wooden spoon or whisk.
- When the flour has taken on a soft golden color, add the Cabrales cheese cut into small pieces and mix to distribute evenly.
- Continue stiring the mixture until the cheese has melted.
- Pour the milk little by little and stir at the same time to prevent lumps from forming.
- Keep stirring constantly until the batter thickens and separates from the sides of the pan. The béchamel will be ready after about 20 minutes.
- Transfer the mixture to a large dish for the béchamel to cool faster.
- Cover in cling-film so that the film comes in contact with the surface to prevent it from drying and developing a skin.
- Let it cool completely and store in the fridge until the next day for it to firm up.
- Shape the croquettes with the hands, taking small portions and forming little balls.
- Place them on a plate with a little flour and coat each ball. Shake off the excess and transfer them to a clean plate.
- Fill a large bowl or dish with breadcrumbs and another dish with the beaten egg; place them side by side.
- Dip the croquettes in the beaten egg and make sure they get covered with egg all over.
- Pass them on to the dish wiith the breadcrumbs and coat them thoroughly.
- Fill a small frying pan with enough olive oil to deep-fry the croquettes and heat it to 340ºF/175º.
- Fry the croquettes in batches of 4 or 5 so the temperature of the oil remains consistent.
- Make them roll inside the frying pan from time to time so they brown evenly.
- Remove with a slotted spoon and place on kitchen paper to remove excess fat.
Tips for the most amazing croquetas de Cabrales:
- Bread flour can be used instead of all-purpose flour, it is a matter of personal taste. We think that the result is better with the latter when making this type of croquettes.
- The flour must be properly cooked in the butter, otherwise the croquettes will taste of raw flour. A soft golden brown color is enough.
- Pour the milk onto the pan little by little, stirring at the same time and using a hand whisk to avoid lumps. If, despite all efforts, the béchamel develops lumps, use a hand blender to get rid of them.
- Depending on the type of croquettes, part of the milk can be subtituted with chicken, meat or vegetable broth as a flavour enhancer. Cabrales cheese croquettes don’t need it though, they are tasteful enough.
- Cook the béchamel sauce over a low heat, the liquid should evaporate slowly for the sauce to thicken properly.
- Do not hurry the process of making the béchamel sauce. Stopping too soon will result in a béchamel that is too runny and shaping the croquettes will be difficult. A dense consistency needs to be achieved, so that the batter pulls away from the walls of the pan.
- Shaping the croquettes is much easier if the batter is cold, so let it rest in the fridge for a few hours (even better if it is overnight) before doing so.
- The coating can be flour-egg-breadcrumbs or just egg-breadcrumbs. This is completely to your liking, though the former makes for a slightly firmer coating that is easier to fry.
- Ensure the oil temperature for frying remains constant. Do not exceed it nor go under it. the specified oil temperature for frying.
- Croquetas freeze very well after coating and before deep frying. Put them on a tray, in a single layer, until they turn hard. Then transfer them to a zip bag and consume within a month. They can be deep fried frozen, allowing a little extra time for the inside to thaw completely in the process.
There is no doubt about it, a good tapa of croquetas de Cabrales or Cabrales cheese croquettes with a cold beer is what you want to share with family and friends at the end of the day. Right? We are already making our batch and hope you do too soon! Let us know about your experience and do not hesitate to contact us if you have any queries.