MAKES ABOUT 40
This Trader Vic's creation is in effect an upscale version of the béchamel-bound ham croquettes popular in Spain and Latin America.
FOR THE CRÊPES:
1 1⁄2 cups plus 1 tbsp. flour
1 1⁄3 cups milk
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1⁄2 tbsp. butter
FOR THE FILLING:
6 tbsp. butter
6 tbsp. flour
1 1⁄2 cups milk
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 lb. swiss cheese, finely grated
5 oz. cooked ham, finely chopped
(about 1 1⁄4 cups)
Leaves of 1⁄4 bunch parsley, chopped
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1⁄2 tsp. worcestershire sauce
1⁄4 tsp. Tabasco
2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1. For the crêpes: Whisk eggs and flour together in a medium bowl. Add milk and whisk until smooth. Add nutmeg and season to taste with salt. Strain batter through a sieve into a bowl and set aside. Heat a 12" nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Swirl butter in skillet, then pour in 1⁄2 cup of the batter. Working quickly, swirl batter to coat skillet evenly. Cook until edges are golden brown, 1 1⁄2–2 minutes. Turn with a spatula and cook second side until golden, 1–2 minutes more. Transfer crêpe to a plate and repeat with remaining batter.
2. For the filling: Melt butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, until pale golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove pot from heat and gradually add milk, whisking constantly until smooth. Return pot to medium-low heat and cook, whisking constantly, until thick, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool slightly. Add cheese, ham, 2 of the eggs, parsley, nutmeg, cayenne, worcestershire, and Tabasco and mix well. Adjust seasonings and set aside.
3. Cut 4 of the crêpes in half (save any remaining crêpes for another use). Lay 1 crêpe half on a work surface with straight edge closest to you. Spread one-quarter of the filling along straight edge, shaping the mixture into a log. Roll crêpe snugly around filling jelly roll style (crêpe will not cover filling entirely). Put crêpe seam side down on a wax paper–lined sheet pan. Repeat process with remaining 3 crêpes and filling. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.
4. Pour oil into a large heavy pot to a depth of 2" and heat over medium-high heat until temperature registers 350° on a candy thermometer. Meanwhile, beat remaining eggs in a wide bowl. Put bread crumbs into another wide bowl. Trim ends of each crêpe, then cut crêpes on the bias into 1"-thick slices. Coat each slice in egg, then dredge in bread crumbs. Working in small batches, deep-fry cheese bings, turning once, until golden all over, 2–3 minutes. Transfer to a rack to let drain, and season to taste with salt, if you like, while still hot. Serve hot.