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This recipe originates from the Jewish community of the Veneto region in the north of Italy. I first came across it through a classic Italian-Jewish cookery book called La Cucina nella Tradizione Ebraica (Cooking in the Jewish Tradition), published by Adei-Wizo in Italy, and which unfortunately exists only in Italian. I slightly changed the recipe, using oil to sauté the spinach rather than butter and shallow-frying the croquettes rather than deep-frying them. I also added a pinch of nutmeg as I think it goes well with the spinach. Serve as an appetizer or as a side dish to fish.
Silvia Nacamulli’s website is www.cookingforthesoul.com
Time: 30 minutes
Serves 4 as an appetizer, starter or side dish
500g fresh spinach
1 clove of garlic finely sliced
1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk
40g soft breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons of dried breadcrumbs
30 ml milk
2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
Pinch of nutmeg
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
- Wash the spinach well and without draining it, put it in a deep saucepan.
- Cover and leave it to steam with a tablespoon of sea salt for 5-7 minutes.
- Tip: You don’t need to add any additional water when steaming the spinach, as it will release its own liquid while cooking. By not adding water, it will also allow the spinach to keep all of its vitamins.
- Once the spinach is tender, drain it, leave it to cool down and squeeze the water out.
- Heat up the olive oil and the garlic in a non-stick frying pan with some salt and pepper, making sure not to burn the garlic, otherwise it tastes bitter.
- Add the steamed and squeezed spinach, stir well and leave to cook for 5-8 minutes. Once cooked, chop it very fine.
- Beat the egg and egg yolk together, soak the soft breadcrumbs into the milk, break it into small pieces and mix it together with the eggs. Add the nutmeg, the Parmesan cheese and the dried breadcrumbs.
- Add the spinach and mix thoroughly. With your hands or with a spoon, create small round or oblong spinach croquettes.
- Warm up a thin layer of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and once hot, add the croquettes and leave to fry on each side for a few minutes until golden.
- Once cooked, gently drain the croquettes. Lay them on a serving plate covered with kitchen paper to help absorb the extra oil.
- Serve hot or warm, plain, or with a squeeze of lemon.