The young Catalan genius Sergi Arola earned two Michelin stars for his serious Madrid restaurant, La Broche. Arola, his place at Barcelona's Hotel Arts, is a different kind of experience—it's a party scene, with a DJ in the evenings, a master Argentinean mixologist and a selection of innovative tapas. The best are the Croquetas de Queso Gorgonzola—light, golden cube-shaped croquettes with a warm, silky Gorgonzola cheese center.
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6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1/4 pound Gorgonzola dolce, cut into small pieces
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 large eggs, beaten
2 cups dry bread crumbs
About 1 quart pure olive oil, for frying
How to Make It
Line an 8-inch square baking dish with plastic wrap and spray with vegetable-oil spray. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add 3/4 cup of the flour and cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Whisk in the milk and cook over moderately high heat, whisking constantly until thick, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the Gorgonzola until completely melted, about 2 minutes. Add the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Scrape the mixture into the lined baking dish. Smooth the top and coat lightly with vegetable-oil spray. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the mixture and freeze until firm but still soft enough to cut, about 3 hours.
Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Spoon the remaining 1 cup of flour into a shallow bowl. Put the beaten eggs and bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Invert the set cheese mixture onto a cutting board and remove the plastic wrap. Using a floured knife, cut the chilled cheese mixture into 1-inch cubes, wiping the blade between slices. Working with 5 or 6 pieces at a time and keeping the rest refrigerated, dredge the cubes in flour, then in the egg and bread crumbs. Transfer the croquettes to the baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Place a wire rack over a baking sheet and line the rack with paper towels. Pour 1 1/2 inches of oil into a medium saucepan and heat to 365°. Add 4 or 5 croquettes to the hot oil and fry until golden and crisp, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the croquettes to paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining croquettes. Serve right away.
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