I. Am. A. Foodie.
And then there’s the gym. Have you heard of that place? Horrible. People go and shvitz like it’s the coolest thing to do with one’s time. I personally hate all forms of exercise. My idea of being in a room full of sweaty, bopping people causes classic anxiety. Just isn’t fun. And not because they are sweating and bopping, but because they are all a good ten or fifteen years older than me and they are by far better than I am at it. Stronger. Resistant. Firmer.
Beautiful butts abound.
Yes, I look.
Perhaps it’s surgical. God, oh god, please let it be surgical. But maybe not. Maybe it’s exercise and celery sticks.
I tried that, temporarily, you see. I subjected myself to such cruelties (exercise and celery sticks) for an interminably long time (two weeks, folks) all in efforts to fit into my former jean size and restore normalcy. Then what did I do? Headed off to Spain to visit my sister and stuff myself freely. Think croquettes, croquettes, and more croquettes. Makes perfect sense, right?
And I came back a changed woman. Not in weight (actually, where could croquettes go but to my muffin top?) but in heart. A veil was lifted as I realized how absurd I had been surviving on tread mill and fiber, especially when life has such delicious things to offer, like croquettes and malls crammed with larger size jeans.
Croquetas de Jamon (Ham Croquettes)
1/2 cup chicken broth
4 tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup flour
1 ½ cup half-and-half
½ tsp nutmeg
dash of ground pepper
½ cup ham, chopped fine
2 eggs, lightly beaten with 2 teaspoons water
bread crumbs for coating
olive oil for frying
Heat the 4 tbsp olive oil in a small saucepan on medium heat. Add the flour and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Gradually add the half-and-half and the chicken broth, stirring without stopping. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thickened and smooth.
Add the minced ham and continue to cook for about 2-3 minutes on low heat, continuing to stir. Remove from heat. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes and refrigerate at least 3 hours until mixture is cold. If you are preparing a day or so ahead, you can cover the mixture tightly and keep refrigerated until you are ready to fry the croquettes.
Pour the breadcrumbs into a small, wide bowl. Beat the eggs with water in a small, wide bowl. Cover your hands in flour, then divide the mixture into 1-inch balls and set on a plate so that they are not touching.
Pour enough olive oil in a medium to large frying pan to cover 1/2 inch deep. Heat the olive oil for frying to about 355F degrees. Dip the croquettes in the beaten egg and coat with crumbs by rolling in bowl. Place the croquettes in the hot oil and fry quickly, turning several times, until golden. Remove the croquettes with a slotted spoon and set on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Serve immediately.