The Ultimate Spanish Experience – Jamon Iberica

Last Updated on January 21, 2023

Iberian Ham and Croquettes

We are huge fans of Ibérica, a group of Spanish restaurants in London and Leeds where once you walk through the door you can hardly remember that you are not in Spain. We have reviewed restaurants before, usually when they are running a special regional menu, like this feast from Asturias. But, I’ll admit Ibérica is one of the places I would visit if I just wanted to experience Spain. I’m so addicted to their croquetas, maybe because the first time I ordered them, I was totally amazed. I was expecting something like English potato croquettes – the Spanish version is made with a bechamel-style sauce and no potatoes at all. So, the end result is light, soft, and more gruesome.

Welcome to Cava - Iberia

An invitation to celebrate World Croqueta Day with them is not to be missed. We had been to one of the regular Ibérica experiences before, to learn more about sherry and I know they also have a Spanish Gin and Tonic Experience and a Ham Carving Experience. Our invitees promised that we would not only learn more about choosing and carving the perfect ham for stuffing, but also about the process of preparing croquetas and achieving that crispy finish. We started with a glass of Vilarnau Cava while we waited for everyone to arrive. There’s plenty of time to eat lots of pan con tomate – one of those painfully simple dishes you seem to have to be born in Spain to get right.

Tomato Bread

Two large legs of ham on display in the corner. By now, I already knew that Jamón Ibérica was something really special.

Iberian ham

I was fortunate enough to have visited Dehesa, met the pigs and seen Jamón’s production first hand. While probably eating enough on that trip for a lifetime, I’m still totally addicted – a delicious acorn-fed ham from a special breed of free-range pork that not only tastes great but, thanks to the pig diet, is healthy too.

Iberica Ham class

After a quick talk of ham and the great flavors of acorn and grain-fed jamón, we proceeded to carve our own.

Carve Ham

This is something that is considered in Spain a special skill – you will find that special parties often have a ‘cortadora de jamón’, a trained jamón carving specialist for everyone. Freshly cut is very different from the prepackaged stuff you can get from the supermarket, although if you enjoy vacuum packs of Jamón Ibérica, you can make the most of it by letting it come to room temperature before opening the package and serving.

3 types of hams

A few nibbles and a glass of sherry before the croquetas arrive in the capable hands of Nacho Manzano. We tried our best to coax how this signature dish is made but only learned that the basic roux takes longer to cook, longer than my own recipe to reduce it, that the breadcrumbs are double processed to make it smoother and the mixture is cooled flat in the tray rather than in the bowl.

Iberica - Nacho Manzano and Ham croquettes

And, even a place as brilliant as Ibérica has a high failure rate once they start mixing croquetas. 1 in 4 won’t work…I would say that about my own success rate – although I would give my own jamon croquetas 5 out of 10 against Ibérica 10/10!

Want to try making it yourself? Here’s my own recipe for croquetas – not quite as delicious as the version you’ll get in Ibérica, but still addicting. Or, if you prefer, you can order croquetas from Iberica for home delivery from their site.


ham croquettes

Simple recipe for ham croquetas

Portion: 12 parts

Author: Fiona Maclean


For Dough

  • 1
  • 75
  • 2
    olive oil
  • 75
  • Pinch
    of freshly ground nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
  • 30
    Serrano, iberica or your choice

To make

  • 2
    white bread
    the crust is removed and grated or blitzed to make breadcrumbs
  • 1
  • 1
  • 2
    sunflower or other cooking oil.


  1. Finely chop the ham or blitz in a food processor. Leave all the fat on the ham but no skin

  2. Place the olive oil and butter in a heavy-bottomed skillet and heat until the butter melts. Now add flour and mix well. Continue to cook over low heat for 5 minutes or so.

  3. Meanwhile, warm the milk. I did this in the microwave for 30 burst seconds until I started to see bubbles on the side of the pitcher.

  4. Add a few tablespoons of milk to the flour and fat mixture and stir over low heat.

  5. Keep doing this until all the milk is evenly mixed.

  6. Now add the meat and if you like, some nutmeg. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.

  7. Continue to cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 10-20 minutes.

  8. You should get a thick, spreadable mixture

  9. Line a shallow baking sheet with silicone foil and spread the mixture. flat. Cover and let cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Making Croquettes

  1. When you are ready to make the croquetas, prepare three shallow bowls or plates with the flour in one, the lightly beaten eggs in the second and the breadcrumbs in the third.

  2. Cut the set dough into fingers and carefully remove from the pan

  3. Remove one ‘finger’ and gently roll into a sausage shape. Dipping

  4. Dip first in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs

  5. Continue until all of the mixture is made

  6. If you don’t want to use the croquetas right away, you can leave them at this stage in a covered dish in the refrigerator or freeze them until ready to use.

For cooking

  1. Heat sunflower oil in a pan and take 3 or 4 croquetas.

  2. Fry until golden brown on all sides, then drain on kitchen paper and place in the warm oven while the remaining croquetas cook.

If you want to try ham carving for yourself or another experience, you can find more from Ibérica’s website here

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *