Manchego croquetas with padron peppers and ham
James Martin takes inspiration from Spain for these tasty cheesy croquetas. Perfect for a tapas evening with friends. The padron peppers are a massive plus, especially when feeding a crowd, but you don't have to make them both.
For the Manchego croquetas
For the padron peppers
Melt the butter in a large saucepan, whisk in 200g/7oz of the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes. Whisk in the milk slowly until you have a very thick sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
Stir in the fresh breadcrumbs, cheese and parsley. Put in the fridge to chill for 3-4 hours. Shape the chilled mixture into 7cm/2¾in cylinders.
Preheat a deep-fat fryer to 170C or half fill a deep heavy pan with oil and heat until a breadcrumb sizzles and turns brown when dropped in. (Caution: Hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.)
Put the remaining flour, the eggs and panko breadcrumbs in three separate bowls. Coat each croquet in the flour, then egg and finish with a layer of breadcrumbs.
Deep fry the croquetas in batches until golden-brown. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
For the padron peppers, heat a frying pan until hot and add the olive oil. Add the peppers and fry, continually moving them around for about 3-4 minutes, or until the skin is blistered. Sprinkle over the sea salt and stir.
Divide the croquetas, padron peppers and ham between four plates and serve.