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: 1 Minute
  • Cook: 1 Minute
  • Serves 8
Ingredients & instructions

120g can of sardines, drained

30g unsalted butter

A generous handful of chives, finely chopped

30g corn flour

250ml full fat milk, brought to just below the boil

Fresh nutmeg

1 egg, beaten

100g panko breadcrumbs

20g parmesan, finely grated

Vegetable oil for frying

Salt and pepper

  1. Gently melt the butter over a medium heat until it’s frothy, taking care not to let it go brown. Remove from the heat and 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 flake the sardines and stir them through the sauce along with the chives. Set aside to cool, laying cling film over the top 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 to 10 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.

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