Crab Croquetas

Hola!

As you may already know, I was born and raised in Spain, and adopted the USA as my new home a few years ago. And just a few short months ago, I became a US Citizen as well! So now I have a dual citizenship, I am both Spanish and American. Hurray! 

I love different cultures. Today’s dish definitely shows it, as it’s a blend of my old culture and my new one. Crab Croquetas. Crab from the Chesapeake and the Croquetas from Spain. I am so lucky to live near the Chesapeake Bay (specifically Maryland.) Crab season is on here! Woohoo! 

Croquetas are one of the most popular and typical tapas in Spain, I have different recipes for croquetas: chicken, ham and cheese, cod, squid, and today, crab! You definitely won’t find these in Spain. These are my take on Crab Cakes, which are one of the most popular and typical (and delicious) things to eat in the Chesapeake region.

Old Bay is a blend of herbs and spices and its originally from Baltimore, Maryland 

To make these delicious croquetas you can use the leftover crab meat from picking crabs (as I have done) or buy the crab meat from your local market.  The fresher, the better.

Ingredients (makes 20 to 25 croquetas): 

  • 1 medium onion, diced 
  • 2 cups Maryland blue crabmeat (or your local crab) (12 oz)
  • 1 ½ cups warm milk (I used whole milk)
  • 2 tablespoons butter 
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons flour 
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay spice
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 ½ cups bread crumbs 
  • 3 cups neutral (vegetable or canola) oil 
  • Cook the onion on medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil until it gets browned. Add a pinch of salt and transfer to a plate. 
  • In the same pan, melt the butter and 2 tablespoons of flour, whisk until fully combined. Add the warm milk and the Old Bay, whisk until fully combined and it gets thicker. 
  • Add the onion and the crabmeat and fold in the white sauce. If it looks too liquidy, add the extra tablespoon of flour. 
  • Transfer the mixture to a plate. Once at room temperature, wrap in plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge for at least 1 hour. *Important* The mixture has to be cold before you start shaping it into croquetas. 
  • After the dough has rested, whisk the eggs in one bowl and pour the breadcrumbs onto another large plate.
  • Shape the mixture into small croquettes with a small spoon.
  • Dip them first into the egg mixture, then roll them in the breadcrumbs.
  • Time to fry them! It is super fast. It takes about 3 minutes total for each batch of croquetas. Be sure to turn them to evenly cook each side.
  • Remove the croquetas and let them rest on a paper towel to cool and remove excess oil. Season with salt/pepper or sprinkle on more Old Bay!

Don’t forget to tag me on Instagram if you make them! Thanks!

Bon profit! 

Crab Croquetas

Double Squid Croquetas

Hola!! 

I hope everyone is doing well and healthy, we are definitely living in crazy times. What do you do to clear your mind? For me, I cook, and it helps a lot! 

I bet some of you have been exploring new recipes since we have had stay home all day. If you haven’t been, you should!! 

Today I am making croquetas (croquettes), one of my favorite go-to appetizers. (Check out all my croqueta recipes; chicken, cod, ham and cheese, and more!) Today I made croquetas filled with squid. And not just squid, I also used the ink of the squid! BOOM! Mind-blowing right? Ok, maybe not mind-blowing but these are very unique and not something you normally come across. If you like seafood, or enjoy squid, you will be pleasantly surprised. These croquetas are so, so good!

You can buy the ink online if you can’t find it locally, that’s what I did. In Spain you would buy it at the seafood store, but in the U.S., I’ve never been able to find it fresh, so the jar will do! Also look for “cuttlefish ink”. You can use it to make other things, pasta, black rice, etc. Get creative!

Lets start making the croquetas! 

Preparation Time: 30 minutes 

Total time: 5hrs 30 minutes 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped 
  • approx. 11 oz (300grams) squid (calamari), chopped 
  • 3 tablespoons butter 
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk, warm 
  • 1 teaspoon squid ink 
  • Olive oil and salt 
  • 1 Large egg
  • 1 ½ cups bread crumbs 
  • Canola oil (frying) 
  1. In a pan, drizzle about 2 teaspoons of olive oil and cook the calamari- it will take about 2 minutes. Transfer to a clean plate (discard any water that the squid might release). 
  2. Using the same pan, drizzle some olive oil and cook the onion until brownish. Once cooked, transfer to the calamari plate. 
  3. In the same pan, melt the butter, then add 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour.  Whisk constantly until the flour is combined. Add 1 cup of milk and whisk until the sauce thickens. 
  4. Add the squid ink, onion and the squid into the sauce. Mix well until fully incorporated. 
  5. Transfer to a plate and let cool. Once it cools a little bit, cover with some plastic wrap and transfer the mixture to the fridge for at least 5 hours or overnight. 
  6. After the dough has rested, prepare the egg mixture. For this, I beat one large egg with 1-2 tablespoons of milk.   Pour the breadcrumbs onto another clean large plate.
  7. Shape the mixture into small croquetas with a small spoon. Dip them into first into the egg mixture, then the breadcrumbs.
  8. Time to fry them! It is super fast. It took me about 3 minutes total for each batch of croquettes. Be sure to turn them to evenly cook each side.
  9. Remove the croquetas and let them rest on a paper towel to cool and remove excess oil. Season with salt.

Serve warm and… BON PROFIT!

Double Squid Croquetas

Cod (Lent)

Hola!

This post was written last year for Lent.  Since yesterday was the first day of Lent, I thought it would be a good idea to post it again.

Cooking time approximately 1 hour 15 minutes.

Ingredients: (for 6 servings)

– 3 lbs of fresh cod

–  4 to 6 hard-boiled eggs

– 1 red pepper

– 1/2 green pepper

– 1 big onion

– 1 clove of garlic

– 1 cup flour

– 2 cups vegetable or canola oil

– one 14-ounce can of tomatoes (I would recommend using a can of whole tomatoes, and then mash them or dice them. It’s always better than a simple tomato sauce from a jar).

– Raisins (optional) If you want to use raisins, soak them in cognac (traditional- that’s what my grandma does!) or water for a few hours to rehydrate. Then add the raisins to the sauce.

Let’s start!

The Sauce:  Dice the onion and peppers and cook separately:  Place the onion in a pan on medium low heat with some olive oil until brown. Once the onion starts to brown, add the chopped garlic and stir. Place the peppers in another pan and cook on medium until soft. About ten minutes.

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When the onion is fully cooked, add it to the pan with the peppers. Then, add the tomato sauce and continue to cook on low heat. Season the sauce appropriately with salt.

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The Cod: Meanwhile, cut the cod into individual size portions and season with salt and pepper. Preheat the vegetable oil on medium high heat. Place some flour on a plate, and coat the cod fillets with flour. It has to be coated, but not too much flour. Just shake the fish a little to shed the excess flour.

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Place the cod in the hot oil and cook for a few minutes, then flip it. Cook for a few more minutes.

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Remove from the pan and gently place it on a plate with paper towel to drain the excess oil.

Mix the Two: Pour the sauce into a large pan (big enough to hold all of the cod in a single layer) and heat on low. Add about 1/2 cup of water to make it a little more saucy. Add the raisins (if you want to use them). Stir. Place the cod fillets in a single layer. Shake the pan to distribute the sauce or use a spoon to pour the sauce over the cod.  You want the cod to be fully immersed in the sauce.

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Cut the eggs into quarters and place them in the pan. Shake the pan again to distribute the sauce over the cod. The cod should cook on low heat in the sauce for approximately 15 minutes. It’s ok if it cooks longer.

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That’s it! Ready to serve. Make sure you have some bread on hand for this delicious sauce!

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Bon profit!

Cod (Lent)

Cod croquetas

Hola and happy Sunday!

Sundays in Spain are very laid back. Most of the stores are closed, except for restaurants and cafés.

On a typical Sunday around noon, the cafés are packed with families and friends, enjoying some tapas with vermut, vino or cervesa (Spaniards like to have a drink with their tapas). On days when there is sports on tv, such as Formula1 or MotoGP, the cafés are even busier. Everything is an excuse to go out and get together.

Today I made another croquette tapa, this time with fish. Croquetas de Bacalao, which translates to Cod Croquettes. Croquettes are very popular in Spain, and they are usually featured on every menu as a tapa.

I love these croquettes, they can be made quickly and they are very tasty. It’s a good technique to cook fish if someone in your family doesn’t particularly like fish because the final product doesn’t have a very fishy flavor. It is way more healthy to make these at home rather than buying them from the supermarket.

Ingredients for 18 to 20 croquettes;

  • A fillet of cod (The one I used weighed a little less than 1Ib)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 medium clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Small pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • Bread crumbs
  • 1 cup canola oil for frying the croquettes

 

  • Slice the cod  and set aside. Grate an onion, and cook it on medium heat with some olive oil until it gets browned. Once the onion is cooked, add the chopped garlic and the cod. Cook on medium heat until the cod is cooked. It doesn’t take very long. You will know when is cooked because the cod with start to break apart. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add a tablespoon of butter and  3 tablespoons of flour. Stir constantly until everything is mixed well together. Add a pinch of nutmeg and the milk. Keep stirring, you want all the ingredients to be fully incorporated. By now, the “dough” should not be liquid, if you see that it is too wet, add an extra tablespoon of flour. On the other hand, If the dough is too dry, add a little milk. You don’t want it too wet because it will be impossible to form the croquetas.
  •  The mixture should rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour (or more)

massa cod croq1

  • After the dough has rested, prepare the egg mixture. For this, I beat one egg. (If you want to see this process in more detail, check out my recipe for chicken croquettes)
  • Pour the bread crumbs onto a large plate. Store bought bread crumbs are fine for this.
  • Shape the mixture into small croquetas with a small spoon. Dip them into first into the egg mixture, then the bread crumbs.
  • Time to fry them! It is super fast. It took me about 3 minutes total for each batch of croquettes. Be sure to turn them to evenly cook them.
  • Remove the croquetas and let them rest on a paper towel to cool and remove excess oil. Season with salt and pepper.      Serve warm and… BON PROFIT!

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Enjoying the tapa with a drink!

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Yum!

 

Cod croquetas

Gambes de l’Àvia (Grandma’s Shrimp)

Hola a todos! 🙂

I hope everyone’s doing well. Last week I was in Washington D.C and while there, I went to the Washington Fish Market. I love it! Lots of fresh seafood, fish, shellfish, and of course, the famous Chesapeake blue crab. But as soon as I arrived, I saw shrimp with the heads on. This is something that is very common in Spain. In fact, you never find them with their heads cut off. However, here in the US, it is very difficult to find them. So,  guess what? I went crazy buying them. I already had a ton of dishes in mind to make with them, so I bought plenty and froze some for the future.

A lot of people might be a little intimidated by shrimp with their heads on, and not know how to approach them. But you have to try it. For one, you get a lot more flavor by cooking these shrimp. They also tend to be juicier as the head retains a lot of the moisture of the shrimp. And most important, to eat them correctly, you have to suck out the inside of the shrimp head. Mmmmm!! Trust me on that if you haven’t tried it. If you can’t find these shrimp, or just can’t bring yourself to try them, cook another shrimp.

Last night, I decided to make my grandma’s shrimp recipe. This recipe is the easiest thing in the entire world. In just 15 minutes, you have a delicious dish. This is a classic recipe in my family and everyone loves my grandma’s shrimp. That’s why I had to name it Gambes de l’Avia. Gambes is catalan for shrimp and àvia is the catalan name for grandma.

These shrimp are so juicy and tasty. Forget the fork and knife, roll up your sleeves, dig in and get your hands dirty. 😛 Make sure you have some nice bread on hand because you will need to dip the bread in the delicious sauce that results naturally. I was transported to my avia’s kitchen after the first bite, and hopefully, you will too.

Serves 2.

Ingredients:

– 14 large shrimp

– 1 clove of garlic

– 1/4 cup olive oil, plus a little extra

– salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 390F. If you use the shrimp with the heads on, cut the antennae and the legs off. In a large casserole dish, drizzle a little bit of olive oil and place the shrimp in a single layer. Drizzle a little more olive oil onto the shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Place into the oven.

Raw shrimp
Raw shrimp

While the shrimp is cooking, blend the garlic and a 1/4 cup of olive oil in a blender or food processor and add a pitch of salt and pepper.

Before
Before

After
After

After the shrimp has cooked for 5 minutes, pour the sauce on top of the shrimp (spread it out) and let it cook for another 10-13 minutes until the shrimp are cooked. The shrimp will be done when they look pink and curly.

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Ready to eat! Bon  profit!!

Gambes de l’Àvia (Grandma’s Shrimp)

Fideuá

Hola!

I am not going to lie, it is difficult to find Spanish food (food from Spain) here in the U.S. If you live in a major city, it might be easier. It never seems to be a problem to find a good Italian, Japanese, or Greek restaurant. But Spanish…

I am always searching for Spanish restaurants and markets here, and am always excited when I find one. For a long time, I have been craving a dish called fideuá (pronounced fidday-wah.) This is made with very specific ingredients. It looked like it would be impossible to find the correct pasta, called fideos. I didn’t give up, and eventually I found them! (Online of course.) But hey! It’s worth it…

I guess that by now some of you are wondering “what is she talking about? Fideos? Fideuá…? What is it?” So here we go! Let’s take a trip to the Valencia and Catalonia regions of Spain.

According to a popular tale, fideuá was created in Valencia for a Spanish fisherman in 1915. Joan Batiste Pascual was the cook on a fishing boat. He was from the town of Safor (in the region of Gandia), and was known as Zabalo. Normally he would cook Spanish rice dishes like paella, since rice was easy to store, and seafood was readily at hand on a fishing boat. The captain of the boat was a true rice lover and he would always eat more than his fair share of paella (the other sailors never got a full ration of rice). In order to stop the skipper from being so greedy, Zabalo one day decided to use pasta instead of the traditional rice. It worked. The captain didn’t eat as much of the pasta as he did the rice, and the rest of the crew had more to eat! The dish became more popular and spread along all of the seafood restaurants along the coast.

Nowadays, it is a very popular dish and you can find it anywhere in Spain, including Catalonia, where it is very popular. Usually, it is made with cuttlefish, shrimp and langoustines. Since it is difficult to find cuttlefish and langoustines ingredients, you can easily substitute shrimp and squid. Like I did today! This dish is similar to paella marina (seafood paella). You cook it like you would cook paella, in a paella pan. The key ingredient is the pasta, called fideos. These are short lengths of dry pasta, about an inch long. You don’t boil the noodles first, like you would with regular pasta. You brown them in olive oil and garlic and then simmer it in fish broth, also similar to paella. It is seasoned with tomatoes and onions, and contains delicious pieces of seafood. When it’s done, you add some aioli sauce.

Fideos
Fideos

Sounds good, right? Let’s see how easy is this recipe is…

Fideuà for 2-4 servings

Ingredients:

– 1/2 Ib (250g) fideos (If you don’t want to buy the fideos, use angel hair and cut it into small pieces, about 1 inch long).

– 1 medium onion

– 1/2 medium red bell pepper

– 1 big tomato (if you use canned whole tomatoes, use 4 tomatoes)

– 2 cloves garlic, plus 1 clove for the aioli sauce

– 4 cups (30 ounces) fish stock

– 15 medium shrimp (about 5 per person) peel and devein

– 15 medium squid pieces (tubes and tentacles) (4 to 5 per person)

– olive oil

– vegetable oil

– salt

1) Grate the onion and cook it in a separate pan on low-medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt.

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The onion is getting brown…

2) Grate the pepper. Once the onion starts to brown, add the pepper and the tomatoes. Mash the mixture with a masher. Stir and season again with salt. Cook until brown and set it aside.

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Add the pepper

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Add the tomatoes

3) In a large pot, preheat the fish stock. If you don’t use your own, buy the highest quality store-bought stock you can find.

4) Drizzle on some olive oil into a paella pan and cook the squid on medium heat. When the squid is cooked, about 3 minutes, set it aside on a separate plate. Using the same paella pan, cook the shrimp until they turn pink and curly.

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Shrimp

(If there is any liquid from cooking the squid and shrimp, save it and pour it into the fish stock. The more fishy the better!)

5) Add the squid and the onion-tomato mixture back into the pan with the shrimp. Stir until well mixed. It should take about 1 minute. Put it on a separate plate.

6) Drizzle the paella pan with some olive oil, add 2 cloves of garlic and cook on medium heat. Stir a little bit, and add the fideos. Stir the fideos with the garlic until the fideos turn very brown. Be careful not to burn them! This will take about 3 minutes. This step is very important. If the fideos are not brown, the fideuá will not be as good. 

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1- Add the garlic

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3- They are very brown!

7) Remove the 2 cloves of garlic and discard.  The garlic in this step is just to add flavor to the oil and pan. Next, add the squid, shrimp and onion-tomato mixture into the pan with the fideos.

8) On low heat, add between 3.5 – 4 cups of fish broth. Shake the pan. DON’T use any spatulas or spoons to stir it. Just shake the pan with the pan handle. Like you would occasionally stir, occasionally shake the pan to distribute the stock and mix the ingredients.

9) After about 15-20′ the fideuá should start looking pretty dry. All the noodles should be standing up. If they are not, you can put the pan in the oven for 6-10 minutes at 375F.

10) The aioli. This should be made ahead of time. You can use your own recipe, or follow mine. In a food processor, blend the garlic, egg yolk, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of olive oil. Then, while the food processor is still blending, slowly (very slow!) add the rest of the 1/2 cup of vegetable or canola oil. Mix until it has a nice thick consistency.

11) Serve wam and BON PROFIT!

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Finished!

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The fideos are “standing up”.

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Serve it…

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Add some aiolli

Bon profit!!

Fideuá