After lunch I walked up the road with Nookie – we hadn’t gone far before she dragged me into a little side street to look at a new croqueta shop, Croqueta y Presumida. For the uninitiated, a Spanish croqueta is made with a very thick béchamel sauce, flavoured with ham, cheese, fish, meat, etc. The thick sauce is rolled in breadcrumbs and left to chill, until needed, at which point it is most commonly deep fried. Croquetas are generally served as a tapa or starter. Some say that the name comes from the shape of the croqueta or croquette, which resembles the head of a croquet mallet, though it’s far more likely to come from the French verb croquer – to crunch.
I was impressed by the fact that they state that the croquetas are all 100% natural without preservatives. Furthermore, they say, “Elaboramos diariamente nuestras variedades de croquetas caseras, hechas con leche fresca de caserío, con el compromiso de conservar el sabor, aroma y textura, que hacen de nuestra croqueta, una “croqueta única” – “We prepare our varieties of homemade croquettes daily, with fresh dairy milk and a commitment to preservation of taste, aroma and texture, making our croquettes unique“.
Nookie was very keen to point out a very specific selling point – they do 12 croquetas for €5.50 or 24 for €9.95.
Before I knew it I’d handed over €10 and asked for two of everything – I skipped the vegetable croqueta, along with the seasonal one and the chocolate dessert variety, going for the 12 meat and fish types that they sell on a daily basis.
As I walked off up the road, though, I couldn’t help thinking that the packaging was just like a box of chocolates. I was assured that the croquetas last for up to 3 days in the fridge (not mine, I wanted to say) and can be fried, deep fried or heated in the oven. We did actually go down the oven route, so as too cook all 24 at the same time. This works perfectly well and they do crisp up nicely, but some of them did leak. I think the ideal method is to deep fry croquetas in olive oil, straight from the fridge.
All the croquetas were quite deleicious – the very best ones were chipirón en su tinta (squid in ink), centollo (spider crab), bacalao (salt cod), hongo boletus (boletus mushrooms), chistorra (spicy red sausage) and queso idiazabal (idiazabal cheese).