- Makes 45 to 50 croquettes
- ¼ lb (1 stick) salted butter
- 7 tsp all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk, scalded
- 2 cups finely chopped cooked ham
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 3 tsp fresh lime juice, plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 cups very fine bread crumbs
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- peanut or vegetable oil for frying
- In a saucepan, heat the butter until it foams, blend in the flour, then gradually whisk in the milk until the mixture thickens into a smooth paste taking care not to overcook the mixture and cause lumps to form.
- Add the ham, salt, pepper, nutmeg, lime juice, and parsley, and continue cooking over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
- Remove from the heat.
- Spoon the mixture into a pan or platter and let it cool thoroughly (once cool, it can be refrigerated).
- Sprinkle a light layer of bread crumbs on a work surface.
- Scoop up 1 tablespoon of the cooled ham mixture and shape it into a cylinder about 1½ inches long and ¾ inch in diameter.
- Dip the cylinder in the beaten egg and then in the crumbs, and repeat with the remaining mixture, adding more crumbs as necessary.
- (up to this point, the recipe can be prepared one day in advance and refrigerated overnight).
- Preheat the oven to 250°F.
- In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet or deep fryer over medium-high heat, heat 2 to 5 inches of oil to 375°F, or until a drop of the mixture sizzles when it touches the oil.
- Fry 5 to 6 croquettes at a time until golden on all sides, turning with a slotted spoon.
- Be careful not to fry too many at once or the oil temperature will fall and they will be more soggy than crisp.
- Once cooked, drain on a paper-towel-lined platter.
- Keep warm in the oven until you have finished frying the rest, and serve sprinkled with fresh lime juice.