A huge part of the Andalucian culture is the consumption of the croqueta. I broke my no frying, heart-healthy rule for the love of Spain and in the spirit of Spanish poet, Antonio Machado:
They are good people who live,
work, happen around, dream,
and one day, like so many others,
they will rest beneath the Earth.
Why not adopt a fatalistic attitude for a day and flash fry some beautiful deep red beets with goat cheese? “Ser cocinera”, to be a cook, requires venturing out in the kitchen. This dish for me is what it truly means to own that name.
Breaking the no- frying rule actually felt kind of good. The sweet song of the croquetas crackling in the frying pan rivaled the most seductive of Spanish guitars and the slightly sour taste of the goat cheese tamed by the sweetness of the beets could melt the resolve of a bullfighter.
Without further ado:
Croquetas de Remolacha y Queso de Cabra (Goat Cheese and Beetroot Croquettes)
- 2, 4oz packs of goat’s cheese
- 1 medium beetroot
- 1/3 cup plain flour
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 cups panko bread crumbs
- 2 cups canola or peanut oil, for frying
Boil, cool and peel the beet. The peel should come off very easily after the boiling process. Grate the beet very finely using a hand grater. This should yield about 6 tablespoons of grated beet.
Add the grated beet to the two packs of goat cheese and mix together in a bowl with a fork until incorporated into a seamless mixture. Use a heaping tablespoon as a rough measurement to roll the mixture into rough balls. Place onto a large plate and refrigerate for a few of hours until the balls are firm to the touch.
Place the flour, beaten egg and panko in three separate bowls. Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.
Remove the balls from the fridge and shape into perfect balls without giving them time to warm up. One by one coat each ball in the flour, dunk into the egg and finally roll well in the panko. Repeat with the remaining balls. This will form your croquetas. Fry the croquetas a few at a time in the heated oil until golden brown, being careful as you turn them so they don’t lose their shape or break down. Remove from oil and put onto a plate with a paper towel to gather excess oil.
Serve hot alone or over the salmorejo, to add a touch of Cordoba. Garnish with the leaves of the beet root.