We have made them with chicken, Iberian ham -and with a price-, liquid, potato and mushrooms or Japanese style, but the humble and delicious spinach croquettes, which are also suitable for vegetarian diets , hadn’t taken a look here yet (but today we’re coming to fix that mess). The most important thing for this recipe to go well is that the spinach is drained very well, because any kind of water in it will find its way into the batter and cause it to explode when frying or the inside will be more watery than creamy.
It’s easier if fresh spinach is used and sautéed directly; but this can also be achieved with the thawed version if it sits long enough in a colander and then sauté thoroughly until all the liquid is removed. I suggest using mild oil instead of extra virgin for the sautéed spinach because it will be one more flavor to add to the croquettes, and I like that the flavor of the béchamel is retained (it’s why I also recommend using butter, which goes along the same lines).
The most common dried fruit is the pine nut, but – especially given the price at which it is sold – there would be no problem replacing it with hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts or roasted cashews and not very small minced: the idea is to find something that contributes to a slight biting resistance. You can also add cheese, both in pieces and melted with the bechamel, and other pieces that you like and that won’t interfere with the noble art of frying: I love fried onion and hard-boiled egg pieces, for example.
In some bars and restaurants lately it is fashionable to grind spinach with bechamel to remove pieces, serving a kind of green without pieces of vegetables with nuts. I am radically against this practice; I like spinach and I like their bite; If you have the urgent need to serve a Hulk-croquette, leave at least half of the vegetables cut with a knife.
So that the croquettes do not explode or fall apart when frying, it is essential to let them dry a little in the refrigerator on a rack, so that the dough can compact. Doing them in small batches with enough oil will also help keep it from getting cold. They freeze perfectly: their trick is to put them on a tray in the freezer so that they don’t deform, to set an alarm after an hour to give them time to harden and then to transfer them to a bag or container so that the cold does not pass. don’t burn them. When we want to consume them, directly in the hot oil, drain and eat no less than half a dozen (because, as everyone knows, this is the minimum quantity and not negotiable).
It is more laborious than difficult.
For about 36 croquettes
- 120 grams of flour (and a little more for the breadcrumbs)
- 100 grams of butter
- 1 liter of milk
- 500g spinach
- 80g pine nuts, hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts or cashews
- A pinch of nutmeg
- chopped fresh parsley (optional)
- 2 eggs
- Panko or breadcrumbs
- Mild olive oil for frying and sautéing spinach (butter can also be used for sautéing)
- If the spinach is thawed, chop it with a knife, place it on a colander for a few hours and let gravity do its work, pressing down a few times with a colander to make it easier for you. If they are fresh, chop them too.
- Brown the fresh or drained spinach in a pan with a little oil or butter, salt and pepper (if the pan is not very large, make two batches). Towards the end, add the toasted walnuts and pine nuts. When they are ready, set aside again on a colander to eliminate any remaining liquid.
- Prepare a béchamel by toasting the butter with the flour over low heat for about six or seven minutes, or until it smells toasty. Add hot milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Stir over low heat until well thickened.
- At this point, remove from the heat and add the spinach and, if desired, a little chopped parsley. Incorporate everything well into the dough, take in a deep oiled tray, put a film or a silicone lid in contact with the dough.
- Refrigerate for at least four hours (ideally overnight).
- Roll the croquettes to the desired size -be careful not to end up making cannonballs to finish sooner- and coat them with flour, beaten egg and panko or breadcrumbs.
- Let dry on a rack in the refrigerator for at least half an hour (preferred). Fry in abundant hot oil, drain and serve.
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