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This is something my wife and I will make on the weekends to keep in the freezer. Max loves them, and they are always ready to be baked for impromptu parties or the start to a quick meal. The ingredients themselves are easy to find, and because it uses frozen vegetables there’s no need to worry about what’s in season. Riviera Herbs is the blend that lends its magic to this dish, along with nutmeg to add sweetness and depth.
Makes about 20
2 Tbsp salted butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 Tbsp Riviera Herbs
Generous grating of nutmeg
10 ounces frozen spinach, squeezed dry
10 ounces frozen kale, squeezed dry
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus 2 Tbsp
3/4 cup panko plus extra for coating (you can use homemade breadcrumbs too, if using a finely ground one use a bit less since it is denser)
Salt, to taste
In a skillet over medium heat, heat the butter and olive oil, then sauté the onion and Riviera Herbs, stirring well, until the onion is soft and translucent. Grate nutmeg over the pan, mix well, and set aside to cool.
In a bowl or rimmed baking sheet mix the 2 Tbsp of parmesan with a few handfuls of panko.
In a food processor mix the cooked onions with all remaining ingredients and process until well combined, taste and adjust seasoning. Remove blade and start scooping out walnut-sized portions of mix, rolling them into balls and coating them with the panko and cheese mix, then placing them on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Either bake the balls right away (375°F for about 20 minutes), or freeze for later (if baking from frozen add about 10 minutes to the cook time).
Variations & Ideas:
I like prepping them in novel ways, you can mash them flat and pan fry in a skillet, or bake them and then add them to a sauce as an alternative to meatballs (try a simple tomato ragu, a wine cream sauce with nutmeg, or an almond curry with chunky vegetables and fruit), or bake and toss with an herbed rice and drizzle with olive oil.
You can fill the balls; make a dent with your thumb and insert a small cube of cheddar or blue cheese, an anchovy fillet rolled around a caper, or a candied pecan, then roll back into a ball, to make easy hors d’oeuvres.
Experiment with different vegetables and spices:to start, try the basic recipe with Shabazi N38 or Lula N41 instead of Riviera Herbs try broccoli and spinach with feta and Chios N27 shredded beets and walnuts with gouda and Ana N36chickpea, cashew, and carrot with Massalis sautéed mushroom and spinach with Pierre N7. You will need to play with proportions a bit depending on how wet your ingredients are, but the sky is the limit!
Food images and recipe © Christian Leue
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