The croquetas de jamón at this Atlanta restaurant are savory and surprisingly vegan

Dish of the Week: Croquetas de jamón at La Semilla
The vegan croquetas de jamón at La Semilla are crunchy and savory. Angela Hansberger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Angela Hansberger

Credit: Angela Hansberger

The vegan croquetas de jamón at La Semilla are crunchy and savory. Angela Hansberger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

From salt cod to mushrooms to peas, there are plenty of varieties of croquetas on traditional tapas menus, but nothing compares with the classic recipe that uses cured ham. That is, until you try La Semilla’s vegan croquetas.

I intended to begin my meal with an appetizer of the golden brown logs I’d spotted on a tray going to another table. I ended up eating two orders as a meal. Usually made with leftovers, these croquetas are a testament to La Semilla’s practice of using all the bits it has from its Latin cuisine, as well as the ingenious way its cooks build depth of flavor.

The crunchy exterior gave way to savory, tangy flavors. Flecks of house-made seitan “ham” and a creamy potato base were impossibly rich. Expressed wedges of lime brightened the tang and played off the salinity. The croquetas came with a vegan mayo ketchup, but they really sang with just a splash of citrus. I couldn’t believe that I wasn’t eating serrano ham and bechamel.

La Semilla. 780 Memorial Drive SE, Atlanta. 404-228-3090, lasemilla.kitchen

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