Crab croquetas with romesco dipping sauce
- February 2017
- Makes 24 croquetas
- Hands-on time 1 hour, plus chilling
Crispy on the outside and smooth and creamy on the inside – these crab croquetas can be enjoyed tapas style, or as a decadent start to a dinner party.
- 9.2g (2.6g saturated)
- 10.5g (1.3g sugars)
- 65g unsalted butter
- 1 large banana shallot, very finely chopped
- 140g plain flour, plus extra to dust
- ¼ tsp mustard powder
- Large pinch cayenne pepper
- Large pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- 125ml fresh fish stock
- 300ml milk
- 50g each brown and white crabmeat
- 2 tbsp mix of finely chopped chives and dill
- 2 large free-range eggs, beaten
- 135g dried breadcrumbs
- Around 2 litres sunflower oil for frying
For the romesco sauce
- 2 red peppers
- 80g blanched almonds, roughly chopped
- 70g stale crusty white bread, torn into chunks
- ¼ tsp hot smoked paprika
- 1 large garlic clove, crushed
- 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 90ml extra-virgin olive oil
- Heat the butter in a medium saucepan, then add the shallot and a pinch of salt. Cook over a low-medium heat for 6-7 minutes until slightly softened but not coloured. Add 65g of the flour, the mustard powder, cayenne and nutmeg, then cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes until the flour starts to smell biscuity. Turn up the heat and gradually add the stock, stirring all the time, so the mixture thickens and bubbles gently. Once the stock is added continue to add the milk in the same way, then cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring, until the mixture is very thick and comes away from the sides of the pan when stirred. Stir in both kinds of crabmeat and the chopped herbs, then taste and season as needed.
- Transfer the sauce to a baking tray or large shallow bowl, smooth the top and cover with a layer of cling film directly touching the surface. Leave to cool completely, then chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours, or up to overnight.
- For the romesco, either grill the peppers under the hottest grill setting, turning often until blackened all over, or char them directly in the flame of a gas hob, using metal tongs. Once the peppers are blackened, put in a bowl covered with cling film or in a freezer bag and leave to cool for 20 minutes. Peel off the blackened skins (a quick rinse under cold water will help), remove the stalks and seeds, then tear into strips. Put in the bowl of a food processor with the remaining romesco ingredients (except the olive oil) and season well. Whizz to a thick paste, then pulse in the olive oil until well combined but still with some texture. Taste, season, scoop into a bowl and set aside.
- When ready to assemble the croquetas, put the remaining 75g flour and the eggs into separate, wide, shallow bowls and the breadcrumbs into a small roasting tin. Dust your hands with flour, then scoop out walnut-size pieces of the croqueta mixture with a teaspoon and roll into a ball between your palms. Drop into the flour to coat, then into the eggs, shaking gently each time to remove any excess. Finally, put them in the breadcrumb tin. Work until you have 3-4 croquetas in the breadcrumb tin, then shake the tin gently to coat the croquetas all over – squeeze them carefully in your hands to secure the coating. Put the breadcrumb-coated croquetas on a baking tray lined with baking paper, then chill all 24 croquetas in the fridge for 1 hour (or in the freezer for 40 minutes).
- Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a medium-high heat to 180°C when tested with a digital thermometer. (If you don’t have one, drop a few breadcrumbs into the oil after it’s been heating for about 5 minutes – if they sizzle enthusiastically it’s about right.) Fry the croquetas in batches for 4-5 minutes until deep golden – don’t crowd the pan, and if they stop sizzling at any point, remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon, turn up the heat and bring the oil back to temperature before continuing. Keep the cooked croquetas warm in a low oven while you finish the rest. Serve with the romesco for dipping.
The romesco also makes a generous portion, but leftovers will keep in the fridge, covered, for up to 5 days. It’s great served with fish or chicken, as a dip for bread or with pasta like a sort of pesto. The fish stock imparts depth of flavour but if you want to simplify your shopping list, you could replace it with extra milk.
It’s difficult to make these in smaller quantities so you may as well make a large batch. This recipe will make enough for 4 people. Make a batch, freeze half on trays, then put in bags and freeze for up to 1 month. Fry the croquetas from frozen for a minute longer than in the recipe.
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