We may all know that Croquettes come from France, but you may don´t know how old the recipe is. In 1691 Francois Massialot published Le cuisinier roial et bourgeois. More than 10 croquette recipes are available in the book, always recommended as an starter.
LE CUISINER ROIAL ET BOURGEOIS, 1691
However the recipe was very different to the one we use these days. In 1691 croquettes were made of meat, eggs and herbs, then covered with egg and bread crumbs.
Since then we can find many different recipes of croquettes in Europe, mostly all cruncky balls were called that way. In 17th century bechamel was still not invented. Was in 1733 when the chef Vincent la Chapelle wrote a sauce recipe that was a mix of butter, herbs, flour and milk, and it was named bechamel because of Louis de Béchameil (1630-1703).
The bechamel became very popular in the 18th century, and then frech chefs started using that sauce to make croquettes.
In 1812 Spanish chefs offered croquetas to the british troops in Spain, they came to help us to get rid off Napoleon, but unfortunatelly we don´t have the recipe.
Since then croquetas (already in Spanish) became more and more popular. From the 19th century we can find Spanish croquetas recipes with chicken, rabbit, lamb, lobster, salmon, etc. Some recipes explain how to cook croquettes made as meatballs, other recipes already include bechamel.
In those days Cocido stew was already very popular in Spain, so the most popular recipes have always been the ones using the meat from the stew. This way we created Croquetas de Jamón, one of the most popular recipes in Spain.
French croquette are big and with cork size. Spanish croquetas are just Tapas size, creamy and full of Spanish taste.
Today all around Spain you can get croquetas as Tapas. Hope you´ll enjoy!