“The kroketa is the darling of the dinner table in Basque Country and throughout Spain,” says Marti Buckley, an Alabama native who lives in Spain and authored the new cookbook Basque Country: A Culinary Journey Through a Food Lover’s Paradise. “Fried until golden and made to be eaten by hand, the croquette’s crunchy bread crumb exterior gives way to a thick, creamy interior that calls to mind mashed potatoes or melted cheese.” Variations on the classic ham version include salt cod, chicken, or bacon.
“One secret to croquette excellence is the extra step of infusing the dairy with the star ingredient,” Buckley says. “When made with ham-infused milk and cream, the resulting béchamel takes on a new, subtly flavored life. Jamón Ibérico is more flavorful than its cousin, jamón Serrano, but you can use either.”