Origin: Spain and other origins
Croquetas are served in most bars and restaurants of Spain, mainly as a tapa, and most Spanish mothers have their own recipe to make them. They can be filled with anything, however the most popular ones are "croqueta de bacalao" (cod), "croqueta de jamón" (ham), "croquetas" de espinaca (spinach) and "croquetas de pollo" (chicken)".
Croquetas have a French origin, perhaps you are acquainted with croquettes, however they soon spread to many corners of the planet and in Spain it's a highly popular morsel. It's not easy to make, so the bar or restaurant that achieves the perfect croqueta has a loyal crowd.
Perhaps in France it was the housewives in rural La Provence that created them, but it soon climbed in status, reaching the noble kitchens and taking part at a royal soiree as one of the main stars.
The French cook Antonin Cáreme, served them in a banquet that took place in 1817 that he was commissioned to prepare specially for the English Prince Regent and the Great Duke Nicolai from Russia. Apparently his croquettes were made of potato, but it did not have egg as an ingredient or bechamel, important elements of the Spanish croqueta.
However the croqueta's introduction in Spain was a little slower, perhaps during mid 19th century. There are documents from the beginning of the 20th century that mention this particular morsel and a housewife in 1913 claimed that they were already popular in the country.
We may not know the exact year or decade croquetas were introduced in Spain, but we do know it's beginning in Spain was a humble one, as it basically consisted in -and still does- of the art of putting together leftovers and scraps and cheap ingredients, recycling them instead of throwing them away.
There are many examples of Spanish food that were created in the kitchens on rural housewives and that have become the most characteristic and notorious examples of Mediterranean cuisine, such as Spanish tortilla, salpicón and gazpacho.
The experts say the perfect croqueta must be small, but not too small (enough to be eaten in two bites), the bechamel must be light and perfectly smooth, it must be moist on the inside and drier in its exterior, its crust crunchy and golden. Doesn't it sound tasty?
Here we leave two recipes of the most popular Spanish croquettes
Ingredients (four portions):
Perhaps croquetas have a higher level of difficulty than other Spanish food recipes, however they are delicious and allow you to recycle odd bits of food to make a morsel good enough to lick your fingers. If you happen to go to Spain be sure to taste as many different croquetas as you can! You will always crave more.