Spinach patties Spinach patties Israeli Kitchen Photo: Miriam Kresh

Spinach patties

Green fritters? If you like spinach, why not?

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  • Yield: About 16 patties
  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes

I came across cookbook author Gil Mark’s Keftes de Espinaca – spinach patties. Perfect – Husband’s favorite vegetable is spinach. The Little One could do without it, but even she ate and took seconds of these patties. And to my delight, they needed but little oil to fry up into delicious, crusty morsels with tender insides. I served pasta with tomato sauce on the side and we had a great vegetarian meal.

The patties need something a little acidic to brighten the spinach’s earthiness. Squeeze half a lemon over the batch, or serve thick sour cream next to them. Or try making your own cream cheese – much less expensive than store-bought, and slavishly subject to your personal culinary whims. A recipe for the homemade cream cheese is also below.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large, chopped onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, mashed to a paste
  • 20 ounces frozen spinach, thawed, chopped, and squeezed dry
  • 1 cup fine, dry bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 lemon or thin lemon wedges for serving
  • Oil for frying
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Use a large frying pan. Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onion until golden. Add the garlic and stir, cooking about 1 more minute.

Scrape the onion and garlic into a bowl. (No need to wash the skillet now.) Add the spinach, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Blend well. Add the beaten eggs.

Cover the bottom of the frying pan with more olive oil and place it over medium heat.

With your hands, take lumps of the spinach mixture and flatten them into patties. They should hold their shape firmly; if they seem too watery, add a tablespoon of bread crumbs.

Don’t crowd the patties in the frying pan; cook in batches. Fry them 3-6 minutes, turning them over when the bottoms have acquired a light-brown crust. Remove from heat when both sides are well crusted. Set them to drain on paper towels.

Keep the patties warm in the oven while continuing to cook the remaining batches.

Squeeze lemon juice over the patties and serve warm. Alternately, serve with thick sour cream or cream cheese.

Cream cheese recipe: Put two containers of sour cream into a bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon table salt; stir well. Grind in some black pepper if liked. Pour into an improvised pouch of cheesecloth, new nylon stocking (washed with dish soap and well rinsed) or a clean kitchen towel – twisting it closed and hanging it to drain over the sink overnight. In the morning, scrape the thick, semi-solid cheese into a clean container and refrigerate. You may flavor it before draining with a clove of mashed garlic, dill, duxelles, or any combination of herbs and spices that strikes your fancy. I like finely-chopped scallions and smoked paprika.

For potato pancakes, it’s best to leave the cheese plain. That way, you can serve applesauce without a flavor clash.

Notes on the spinach patties:

  • If using fresh spinach, use 2 pounds of it; cooked until wilted, chopped, and squeezed dry.
  • If you like nutmeg in spinach, add 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg when mixing the ingredients. I’m not fond of nutmeg and so I left it out, relying on the squeeze of lemon juice for that spark of bright flavor.

Adapted from Gil Marks' "Olive Trees and Honey" cookbook.

Related Topics: Vegetarian

Recipes from the Israeli KitchenRecipes from the Israeli Kitchen
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