From Castilla-La Mancha to Asturias, passing through Madrid, La Rioja and Cantabria, we select eight of the best croquettes in Spain
(name that comes from the French croquer, crunchy), those béchamel balls coated in breadcrumbs and fried, with a mince of various ingredients, usually ham, but also fish, seafood, meat, mushrooms or even cheese , they
were a recipe of use
to give way to the remains of the previous day (the best example is the cooked ones).
For a long time they were considered a humble food, prepared by mothers and grandmothers at home and had no place in haute cuisine, but over the years that has changed and
now croquettes are an unbeatable letter of introduction for bars, taverns and restaurants
There is even a "world championship" that is held within the Madrid Fusión gastronomic congress and they are, together with the potato omelette and the salad, the undisputed stars of today's Spanish tables.
We have selected eight croquettes, spread throughout the Spanish geography, which justify the trip to try them.
Of course, there will be those who, with more than justified arguments, miss something (those of mothers and grandmothers do not count) but, of course, all that are, are.
Waiting for the dates of the 2021 edition of Madrid Fusión to be confirmed and the witness, for the moment
, of the homonymous restaurant in Toledo located in the beautiful Cigarral del Ángel, is the one who holds the unofficial title of champion of the croquettes world.
And in all fairness, because yours are unforgettable.
Infuse the ham bones in the milk, add very little flour and curdle the mixture with gelatin leaves.
These croquettes can also be tried in Madrid, in
, a space advised by Sardinia.
Without leaving Castilla-La Mancha, we find two other memorable croquettes.
In order of seniority, those of Jesús Segura in the
, who serves them in the informal tapas area of his restaurant.
In the creamy bechamel add butter, which gives it a very special creaminess.
And then there are the very young twenty-somethings Javier Sanz and Juan Sahuquillo, who have turned their
in the Albacete town of Casas Ibáñez into an open secret among national gastronomes.
One of the most important reasons is some formidable croquettes, with Joselito ham, sheep's milk and panko rebozo, presented as nigiri with a slice of ham on top, with a perfect balance and an outstanding texture between creamy and liquid.
Of Castilian origin from La Mancha and a disciple of Sardinia, Miguel Carretero officiates at the
In his 'scrubland kitchen' the undisputed queens are hunting ... and some anthological croquettes, which he prepares with milk a little fatter than usual, also bathed in panko and left to rest for 12 to 24 hours before frying them in vegetable oil, not necessarily olive.
The result is exceptional, which justifies that they run through the sweeping area and high tables and that they are included in the tasting menu.
The fifth wine.
Since we are in the capital, we must mention yes or yes the croquettes of Mrs. Esperanza in
El Quinto Vino
, that illustrated tavern founded by Luis Roldán and Jesús Vila that was a pioneer in the service of wines by the glass in the middle of the already distant 90s. Contrary to what many think, the name is not in honor of any cook from other times but rather refers to the person who, day after day, does the shopping, prepares the bechamel and shapes the croquettes, which then leads to the restaurant.
Creamy, with a very present ham and, something that the usual customers like a lot, well of nutmeg
A word of warning: when Mrs. Esperanza is on vacation or gets sick, there are no croquettes!
It is not the most common, but once in a while it has happened ...
We are going north, but first we have to make an unavoidable stop in the Riojan town of Ezcaray.
, Francis Paniego keeps alive the flame of his mother, the long-awaited Marisa Sánchez.
And, for this, nothing better than to perfectly replicate their mythical croquettes, called "Our mother's croquettes" on the menu.
They are made of ham and chicken and are molded every day, with béchamel prepared the day before.
The first time they are tried, it is an experience that is forever burned into memory.
Entering Cantabria, in the town of Ampuero, next to the monastery consecrated to the patron saint of the region, La Bien Aparecida, is
, a family restaurant run by the fourth generation of the family that gives it its name and opened at the end of the decade of the 30s, with Ignacio in charge of the stove and Inmaculada in charge of the room.
In its menu, a mixture of creative cuisine and traditional cuisine.
And, within the latter, some orthodox and canonical croquettes, without concessions to modernity, resounding in flavor and creaminess.
We close this journey in Asturias, in one of the best restaurants not only in the Principality, but in Spain:
In this house in Arriondas, Nacho and Esther Manzano have been since 1993, the year of its foundation, delighting visitors with sublime croquettes.
It has its merit, because at that time croquettes were considered a grandmother's home-cooked meal and had no place in haute cuisine, so his was a daring thing.
And so on until today, when the croquettes are the perfect culmination to the salty part of the fascinating 'Upside Down Menu 2020'.
So liquid that they are always on the brink of catastrophe, as the journalist Julia Pérez would say, they are prepared with Serrano ham instead of Iberian ham, so that they are not as powerful but more balanced.
And what if it can be achieved .... There are those who say that they are the best in Spain, not at all, and perhaps they are right ... In addition to
, they can also be taken at
, the illustrated food house that the Manzano family run in Gijón, and in the dining room of the charming little rural hotel
Palacio de Rubianes
(Cereceda), which they have recently taken over.
I said, it is possible (almost certainly) that some are missing, but these eight are, indisputably and in their own right, among the best in Spain
According to the criteria of The Trust Project
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