Jose Mendin's Ham Croquettes with Mint Aioli-MainPhoto

Jose Mendin's Ham Croquettes with Mint Aioli-MainPhoto
Internationally recognized chef, Jose Mendin, recently shared this recipe for ham croquettes with Mamiverse. Chef Mendin was recently nominated by the James Beard Award for the third time in the Best Chef category and was crowned the “Prince of Pork” this February. Quick and easy to make, these bite-sized ham croquettes are definitely a crowd pleaser.

Read Related: Ham & Cheese Empanadas


For the Croquettes:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup finely minced onions
¼ cup flour
1½ cups hot milk
Salt and black pepper
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
12 ounces finely chopped Smithfield Anytime Hickory Smoked Ham
⅓ cup grated Manchego cheese (white cheddar can be used as substitute)
½ cup flour
2 eggs, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
Vegetable oil for frying

1. Melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, and cook until translucent. Stir in the flour and cook for one minute.
2. Remove from the heat, and pour in the hot milk. Return the saucepan to medium heat, and whisk until the sauce thickens.
3. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the black pepper and nutmeg, followed by the ham and Manchego cheese. As béchamel thickens, it will coat the sides of the pot and the spoon; make sure the bottom doesn’t stick or burn, as it will ruin the flavor.
4. Transfer the mixture to a sheet pan or baking dish. Refrigerate at least two hours.
5. Put the flour, beaten egg and Panko bread crumbs in three separate bowls.
6. Shape the ham and Manchego mixture into three-quarter inch balls. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
7. Dredge the croquettes in the flour first, tapping off any excess. Then dip them in the egg wash, and lastly, roll the croquettes in the breadcrumbs. Repeat with each ball, placing croquettes on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until ready to cook.
8. Heat 2-½ inches of vegetable oil in a large, heavy stockpot until it registers 350°F on a deep-fry thermometer. Fry the croquettes, a few at a time, until golden brown (one to two minutes.)
9. Transfer the croquettes to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
10. Serve while warm with mint aioli (recipe below).

For Mint Aioli:
4 garlic cloves
2 egg yolks
5 mint leaves
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste

In a food processor, add garlic, egg yolks, mint leaves and lemon juice and blend, slowly adding the oil. This will create a mayonnaise or aioli consistency. Add salt to taste.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Smithfield’s.