Cheese Bings

This Trader Vic’s creation is in effect an upscale version of the bechamel-bound ham croquettes popular in Spain and Latin America.

Cheese Bings Cheese Bings
This Trader Vic's creation is an upscale version of ham croquettes popular in Spain and Latin America.
Yield: makes about 40

FOR THE CRÊPES:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 12 cups plus 1 tbsp. flour
  • 1 13 cups milk
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt
  • 12 tbsp. butter

FOR THE FILLING:

  • 6 tbsp. butter
  • 6 tbsp. flour
  • 1 12 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)
  • 5 eggs
  • Leaves of 1⁄4 bunch parsley, chopped
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 12 tsp. worcestershire sauce
  • 14 tsp. Tabasco
  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

Instructions

  1. For the crepes: 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 crepe 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 crepes in half (save any remaining crepes for another use). Lay 1 crepe 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 crepe snugly around filling jelly roll style (crepe will not cover filling entirely). Put crepe seam side down on a wax paper-lined sheet pan. Repeat process with remaining 3 crepes 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 crepe, then cut crepes 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.