A staple of Cuban kitchens, croquetas are as versatile as they are delectable. They can be enjoyed as a snack, for breakfast along with robust coffee, at a party or as an on-the-go lunch. There were deep sighs when I was standing in line at Buena Gente Cuban Bakery and someone ahead of me scored the last crispy ham croqueta.
“Croquer” is French for “crunch,” and Buena Gente’s croqueta does indeed crunch, with a crust that is golden-hued, not too thick and has an exterior where the crispiness dissolves as it is bitten. The brittle outside is just thick enough to hold and showcase a light, creamy filling. There are no air pockets inside this cigar-shaped flavor bomb, only a balance of hammy flavor and thick bechamel. Dry-cured ham is ground in the filling, but it still has texture, along with sweet, mild and salty notes.
Order one with coffee, two for a snack, three for lunch. Or you can smoosh a couple of these logs between saltines for a traditional croqueta “sandwich.”
Buena Gente. 1365 Clairmont Road, Decatur. 678-744-5638, buenagenteatl.com
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