I have been having an outrageous love affair with these Spinach Balls. These little nuggets of goodness are so good. Honestly, I cannot get enough of them. Sometimes when I find a new recipe I just keep making it over and over again, wondering how to make them better. I can’t keep going as they are already perfect. They are vegetarian and even the meat-lovers in your life will dig them.
We have recently attended a cocktail party, and one of the tantalizing appetizers was spinach balls, which is the vegetarian version of a meatball. Genius idea and why had I thought of it before? I am usually the girl hovering over the cheese plate during a cocktail party, this time I was the girl hoarding the spinach balls. They were so extraordinary that I really could not stop myself.
At that moment, I became acquainted with Antonio Carluccio, and his book the Collection. Mr. Carluccio is an Italian chef from the Piedmont area of Italy, who relocated to the UK in the ’70s to work in the wine business. In the 1990’s Carluccio and his wife, opened an Italian shop in London, called Carluccio’s. Prior to opening the shop, Mr. Carluccio worked at Neal Street Restaurant, where Jamie Oliver worked under him. Today, Carluccio’s has over 55 locations throughout the UK. In addition to the cafe locations, Carluccio has written numerous cookbooks, and done a few series for the BBC. The Collection is a beautiful cookbook, full of traditional Italian recipes. I have only made this particular recipe as well as another; but, can tell you, that these recipes are brilliant, and the cookbook is going to get a lot of use this year. It is truly a special cookbook that has become a lovely addition to our home kitchen.
You are going to adore this recipe. Simple to make, and easy to eat. The balls are made out of a mixture of fresh spinach, breadcrumbs, and parmesan cheese. I slightly adapted the recipe by using more spinach, less cheese, and panko. Along with some fiery chili flakes. Each ball came out perfectly light and bursting with flavor. This recipe for Spinach Balls can be served two ways, either as an appetizer or as a main dish. A perfectly light meal for Meatless Monday or for your next vegetarian inspired dinner party.
3 cups spinach – was three large bunches of spinach – washed well, tough part of stem removed
1 cup panko
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 clove garlic, finely minced
kosher salt, to taste
fresh ground pepper, to taste
olive oil for shallow frying
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Blanch the spinach for 2 minutes.
Drain into a colander.
Immediately rinse with very cold water to stop the cooking process.
Using your hands squeeze the water out of the spinach. Do this by taking about 1/4 cup of spinach into your hands and squeeze until no water runs from the spinach.
Chop all of the spinach with a knife. Do not use a food processor or you will have mush.
Beat the eggs in a separate mixing bowl.
Place the spinach, panko, cheese, chili flakes, egg, garlic, and salt and pepper into a large mixing bowl.
Using your hands mix well.
Form into small spinach balls.
Add about 1″ of olive oil to a heated shallow frying pan – over medium-low heat.
In batches, brown the spinach balls until golden brown; about 2 minutes per side. I like to use a soup spoon to rotate the balls.
Remove with a slotted spoon or tongs, set aside on a paper towel.
Continue browning the spinach balls.