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Crisp Croquetas with Sardines and Parmesan

Whip up a taste of the Mediterranean with these crispy little tapas bites. You might expect them to be made with mashed potato, but actually, the inside is béchamel sauce, making these light and gooey when cooked. They’re delicious eaten with a glass of chilled white wine and are easy to make in advance, so you just have to fry them up before serving them crunchy and hot.

  • Prepare: 20 Minutes
  • Cook: 5 Minutes
  • Serves 4
Ingredients & instructions
  • 120g Can of Sardines, Drained
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • A generous handful of chives, finely chopped
  • 30g cornflour
  • 250ml full-fat milk brought to just below the boil
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 100g panko breadcrumbs
  • 20g parmesan, finely grated
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Salt and pepper to season
  1. Gently melt the butter over a medium heat until it is frothy, taking care not to let it go brown. Remove from the heat and quickly whisk in the flour, making a smooth paste. Return to the heat for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly, to cook the flour through.
  2. Still on the heat, add a splash of hot milk to the flour mixture, whisking briskly to slacken it off. Gradually add the rest of the milk, whisking constantly to avoid lumps, until the sauce is smooth and quite thick. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper then remove from the heat. Flake the sardines and stir them through the sauce along with the chives. Set aside to cool, laying cling film over the surface of the sauce to stop a skin forming.
  3. Set out 3 bowls: 1 for the cheese, 1 for the egg and 1 for the breadcrumbs. Once cooled, the sauce will have set to a mould-able consistency. Divide it into 8 portions and roll them into cylinders. Roll each cylinder firstly in cheese, then in egg, then in breadcrumbs. Lay on a tray lined with greaseproof paper and pop into the fridge.
  4. When you’re ready to cook your croquetas, pour a layer of oil about 6cm deep into a saucepan and heat to 180˚C (at which point a cube of bread will sizzle and turn brown). Cook in a couple of batches and serve while still warm.


  • Croquetas are typically rolls of leftover food, bounded by mashed potato or bechamel sauce and coated in breadcrumbs. The Spanish like to serve croquetas as a tapas dish with a variety of different fillings.

  • At Coombe Farm Organic we are delighted to work with Pesasur, a world-renowned, quality fish company. We are proud to be the exclusive stockist of this product in the UK. When selecting tinned fish for our range, it wasn’t just the taste of the fish that won us over. It was their ethical approach to fishing, adhering to the strictest sustainable standards. Pesasur is in Andalusia, a fishing town on the border between Spain and Portugal, and the company still prepares and cans fish according to recipes and processes that go back several generations. Their tuna, sardines and mackerel have all been granted Protected Designation of Origin status, as the species of fish are native to Andalusia.

  • Tinned sardines are a store cupboard essential; they are extremely versatile, tasty, packed full on omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Tinned sardines can be fried and eaten on buttery toast, added to a pizza, salad or tomatoey pasta. For something totally different why not check out our recipe for crisp croquetas with sardines and parmesan.

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