Although ham is the traditional filling for these croquettes, they can also be made with chicken. Leftover roast chicken will work, although smoked chicken is preferable for the delicious smokey flavour. These tapas are more labour intensive than most other tapas recipes and require a number of steps, but the croquettes can be prepared well ahead of time and fried before serving.


  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) avocado or olive oil
  • ½ small onion, very finely chopped
  • 30 g butter
  • 50 g (100 ml) cake flour
  • 1 cup (250 ml) milk
  • 140 g sliced smoked ham, diced (or smoked chicken)
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) wholegrain mustard
  • 1 small avocado
For the coating:
  • 2 large eggs
  • 50 g (100 ml) cake flour
  • 140 g (about 3 cups) fine dried breadcrumbs
  • Sunflower oil, for deep frying
To serve:
  • Guacamole
  • Tomato chilli jam


  1. To make the croquettes, heat the oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onion until lightly coloured, about 3 minutes. Add the butter to the onions, and once melted stir in the flour and cook for 30 seconds, stirring continuously. Gradually add the milk while stirring and cook over a low heat until thick and glossy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the ham and mustard, season to taste.
  2. Transfer into a bowl and cover the surface with cling film to stop a skin forming. Leave to cool, then chill, preferably overnight or for at least 4 hours. The mixture needs to be very stiff to form the croquette’s shape. Before shaping the croquettes, peel and stone the avocado, and cut into small cubes. Gently mix avocado cubes into the béchamel ham mixture.
  3. To shape the croquettes, take a heaped teaspoon of the mixture and, with wet hands, roll into 14 small oval shapes and set aside on a tray. Beat the eggs in a shallow bowl, put the flour on a plate and half the breadcrumbs in a bowl. Roll each of the croquettes lightly in flour, then in egg before coating in breadcrumbs. Place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Use the remaining breadcrumbs to top up the bowl halfway through the coating process. Chill for 30 minutes. (*See Cook’s Tip below.)
  4. To fry the croquettes, fill a large saucepan one-third full of sunflower oil and heat to 180°C or heat the oil in an electric deep-fat fryer. Do not overheat and do not leave hot oil unattended. Using a metal slotted spoon, lower 6 croquettes into the oil and cook until golden brown, about 90 seconds. Transfer to a baking tray lined with kitchen paper to absorb excess oil and continue cooking the remaining croquettes. Serve with guacamole and chilli jam for dipping.
  Cook’s Tip:
  • You can freeze the croquettes at this stage for up to one week. To serve fry from frozen.