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Miss Café La Trova? Chef Michelle Bernstein is sharing how to make her signature croquetas at home.

Virginia Gil
Written by
Virginia Gil
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It’s been weeks since we last galivanted around Little Havana, bar-hopping and tasting our way through the neighborhood. Suffice it to say we miss it. High on the list of LH cravings is Café La Trova’s cheesy croquetas. Since we can’t order them in right now, we asked Chef Michy to give us a hand making them at home. Here, the James Beard Award-winning toque shares her recipe for the restaurant’s popular spinach and feta croquetas. Just as popular as the ham version, the veggie fritters are lighter and perfect for a meat-free tapas night.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup yellow onion, minced
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup of milk
  • Heavy pinch of nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup finely grated Fontina cheese
  • 1 cup feta (or goat or really anything you have or like, I love cottage cheese)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 pound spinach, sautéed in 2 tablespoons olive oil, drain
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups of breadcrumbs (Japanese or regular-no flavor)
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Here’s how to make it:

  1. Heat the oil and butter in a saucepan on medium-low heat until the butter foams and cook the onions until transparent.
  2. With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour and cook it for 2 minutes.
  3. Whisk in the milk and lemon zest. Cook, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens, cook another 5-7 minutes, stirring constantly. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Fold in the two cheeses and sautéed spinach. 
  4. Spread the mixture onto a large plate. Refrigerate until solid.
  5. Place the eggs in one bowl, the bread crumbs in another.
  6. Form the chilled mixture into little 1-inch round balls or 2-inch long cylinders.
  7. Dip each croqueta into the bread crumbs, then in beaten egg, then in bread crumbs again, making sure that they are well covered.
  8. Allow to cool for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
  9. Heat oil in deep-fryer to 350F and fry the croquetas a few at a time, until golden, about 3 minutes. Serve with your favorite marmalade, everything works deliciously.

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