Thursday, April 19, 2007

Keftes de Espinaca (Sephardic Spinach Patties)

From epicurious. Originally published in:
Olive Trees and Honey, 2005
By Gil Marks

"Among my favorite spinach dishes are these simple but delicious patties. Even spinach haters can't resist them, especially when they're splashed with a little fresh lemon juice; fresh juice does make a major difference in taste. Onions add a sweet flavor and textural complexity. These patties are traditional on Passover and Rosh Hashanah, corresponding to the emergence of the early and late spinach crops."

Makes about 16 patties.

3 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
2 pounds fresh spinach, stemmed, cooked, chopped, and squeezed dry, or 20 ounces thawed frozen chopped spinach, squeezed dry
About 1 cup matza meal or fine dried bread crumbs
About 3/4 teaspoon table salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Ground black pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
Vegetable oil for frying
Lemon wedges for serving

1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and, if using, the garlic and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the spinach, matza meal, salt, pepper, and, if using, the nutmeg. Stir in the eggs. If the mixture is too loose, add a little more matza meal. The mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for a day.

2. Shape the spinach mixture into patties 3 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide, with tapered ends. In a large skillet, heat a thin layer of oil over medium heat. In batches, fry the patties, turning, until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm, accompanied with lemon wedges.


Verdict: Wow, these came out exactly as promised!! Delicious! It's quite unlike me, but I actually followed the recipe as written and I was richly rewarded. Easy, simple, and other than the spinach I had all the ingredients on hand. It browned nicely in very little oil, and the flavors just caramelize together. And the lemon squeezed on was, in fact, the perfect touch. You could add cheese or any kind of sauce on top, but these were great as they were. They reheated wonderfully in the toaster oven, and probably freeze well too.

notes - I used a pound of organic baby spinach from the farmer's market. yum. I used my old matzo - whizzed it in the food processor until it was in little chunks. (you could easily crush it up by hand too.) I would definitely recommend that instead of fine bread crumbs, the texture was lovely. oh - the one change i made was to half the recipe, and so used only 1 egg. The mixture still held together nicely.

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  • At May 15, 2007 at 5:50 PM , Blogger Rebecita said...

    I just happened to be eating the last of the leftover "keftes" while updating the blog. So I'm happy to report that they most definitely do freeze well! yum.

  • At January 10, 2010 at 1:10 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!


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