And onions. Alan D. gave us onions from his garden – huge, beautiful beasts that will probably keep till March in down cellar if I stop bringing them upstairs to admire them. Here’s a sample, with our evening tea for scale.
So, I had 11 oz of spinach – doesn’t sound like a lot, but that’s one of those giant plastic clam shell cases that is or is not recyclable, depending on the whim of the guys at the Strawberry Hill Transfer Station. I was sick of trying to find room for it in the refrigerator, and slightly miffed with myself for buying it to begin with. The Boy is away at School and I should be cutting my food purchases by roughly 50% (he’s thin, but he is a 6’3″ teenager and accounts for about half our food when he’s home). The spinach will not keep until mid-winter break. Then I remembered an old, old recipe, maybe from “Recipes for a Small Planet”? I can’t find my battered copy of that old faithful, so here it is from memory:
3 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
11 oz fresh spinach (the big plastic box) If you don’t have this much, you can add chopped celery, kale, or those assorted greens you get from your CVA – you know, the ones that you have no idea what they are. I sympathize, I actually grow them and I have no idea what they are. Purslane? Seriously?
About 1 cup matzo meal or fine dried bread crumbs
1 tsp sea salt
Ground black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp cayenne or red pepper flakes – optional
2 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 other vegetables, garlic and saute until soft and translucent, then add the spinach and cook just until most of it has wilted a little. Transfer the whole mess to your food processor. Pulse just a few times – think uniformly chopped, not puree. Add the eggs and pulse a few times again, until they are incorporated. Here you’re going to find that I’m always in a hurry, again. You could let the mixture cool a little bit, so that there was zero chance of the eggs cooking on impact with the hot, just-out-of-the-frying-pan veggies. You could. Or you could add them, pulse a few times and then dump quickly into a handy bowl and add the matzo meal, salt, pepper and stir quickly to cool it down that way. Perfect. If the mixture is too loose, add a little more matzo meal – not too much – the mixture thickens as it stands. This can be stored in the refrigerator for a day, or over night for a very nice brunch.
2. Pick up the mixture with kitchen spoons and scrape it off into the hot frying pan, like cookie dough. In batches, fry the little balls until golden brown on the bottom (this doesn’t take very long, about a minute?) then turn them and squish them flat with the spatula. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm, accompanied with lemon wedges.
I made these with a side of rice and sweet chili sauce, but they are also good with feta cheese, toasted walnuts or (gasp) bacon. Also I should warn you that this recipe makes what I have begun to think of as “too much for two people”. On the other hand, I’m sitting here at 11:15 EST and having two with some vodka, so you know they won’t go to waste.