These famous Spanish tapas, Squid Ink Croquettes or croquetas, are made with tinted thick bechamel, squid, onion, spicy paprika and garlic, making this an outstanding bite for any occasion!
Squid Ink Croquettes, called Croquetas de Calamar en su Tinta in Spain, is my favourite, “Tapa.” Made with the surprising Squid ink to give it an extra “sea” taste and this bold, dark colour to the dish. This “black croqueta” tapa version is one you should experience, whether in Spain or if you want to reproduce it in your place.
The Spice Mix
So, in this version, I’ve slightly modified the original recipe by adding a touch of spicy paprika and garlic to my croquetas. I believe it brings a deeper aromatic croqueta. The spices are not overpowering, just enough to give the beloved calamari a kick, which I think goes perfectly with this recipe.
Spain has a wide variety of croquetas, ranging from cured ham (check my recipe), mushrooms, cod, chicken, and so much more. If you go out on a “Tapas bars” crawl in Spain, the chances you’ll end up with a croqueta on your plate are high. Spanish croquetas are composed solely of a thick bechamel and a protagonist ingredient (ham, calamari, mushroom, etc), resulting in a crunchy exterior croqueta with a super creamy filling that melts on the tongue.
Compared to other types of croquetas, rice or potato-filled types, which can result in heavy and filling, the Spanish croqueta will let you some space for some more tapas afterwards. It might need more preparation and a longer resting time for the bechamel to harden, but the result is sensational overall.
Usually, because these croquettes are made solely with a thick bechamel, they freeze them before deep frying them in olive oil. This way, you’ll get a well-formed croquette which is golden and crunchy on the outside and soft and melting on the inside!
The Calamari Ink
The calamari or cuttlefish ink can be a psychological barrier to overcome for some, but I assure you, all it tastes is the sea! Consider it a black salt, that’s all. It’s nothing else but a colour. You can buy the ink online in small pots or European markets. They use frozen fresh ink mini packets of 4 g each in Spain. Oh.. and for those wondering, yes, your hands and tongue will turn black for a few minutes, but it won’t stain you, so no worries.
Storage of Squid Ink Croquettes
To keep them, freeze them uncooked but formed in a ball or cylinder with the breadcrumb or panko. A trick to keep them well separated and formed is to add them to a cooking board and then cover them with plastic. Let it freeze this way, and once frozen, move it to an air-tight plastic bag or recipient.
Other Black Ink Recipes
Squid Ink Croquettes (Spanish)
- 1 squid (Cleaned and cut into tiny dice)
- 1/2 onion (finely chopped)
- 1 garlic (finely chopped)
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1 tbsp cuttlefish ink paste
- 500 ml milk (cold)
- 1 tsp spicy paprika (*optional)
- salt and pepper
- 150 g panko or breadcrumb
- 4 tbsp flour
- 2 eggs (bitten)
- 1 L olive oil (or your favorite frying oil)
- Start by melting the onion in half the butter in a medium-sized pan at medium-low heat for 5 minutes.
- When the onion is translucent, bring to medium-high heat, add the squid garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Make a small well in the center of the onions, melt the leftover butter, then the flour and cook another minute or two while mixing.
- Add the cold milk, the ink, paprika, salt and pepper and mix constantly with a whisk and wait until it thickens (when the first bubble of heat burst, take off).
- Let it cool, then leave it covered in the fridge an hour or two to make the mixture moldable
- Add the olive oil of your choice to a small pot or frying machine and bring to 185°C (365F°)
- Make small balls of 3 cm with the filling, then cover with flour, then the egg mixture and finally in the breadcrumbs/panko.
- Make all the croquettes and reserve them on a pre-floured plate or cutting board in the freezer covered with plastic.
- Add them frozen directly to pre-heated oil carefully, four at a time, max (otherwise, it lowers the oil temperature), and let them cook for about 2 minutes until light brown.
- Take them out on a paper towel sprinkle with salt.