Spinach Croquettes with Tomato Garlic Mushroom Sauce

18 Sep

With Tomato Garlic Mushroom SauceThe Tiny Queen Z (M’s baby) was having a tough day today. She is teething AND has a cold! Poor thing! But it also meant that my sister was completely exhausted, having been up every hour on the hour with the baby last night, and having to be with her all day today. I wanted to make dinner that would really feel like an indulgence, but be easy to eat, quick and extremely tasty. First I thought of a simple tomato and garlic pasta, but pasta can sometimes be too heavy. We have huge amounts of spinach in the fridge (and its so good for energy and strength) – so I thought spinach croquettes!

These arent the “traditional” croquette, made with mashed potato and rolled in breadcrumbs. To be honest, thats quite an involved recipe, and I wanted to get dinner on the table in under an hour. This actually took about 30 minutes all told, and it was really good. Simple, bold flavours, hot and comforting, the indulgence of fried foods, and yet the healthiness of spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes – simply cooked, without too much fuss.

This is easily convertible to a vegan dish. In the croquettes, substitute almond meal or ground almonds for the parmesan (they give the same wonderfully nutty hit) and a few tablespoons of soy milk to bring it all together instead of the eggs. In the sauce, you could either leave the vegetables clean, or you could substitute wine or soy or coconut milk for the sour cream. Any which way, this is a wonderful meal — it makes people feel comforted and happy. We needed that today!

Serves 4 people. Makes approximately 10 croquettes / patties.

Spinach Croquettes

  • 2 tbsp olive oil (plus a drizzle of truffle oil or roasted sesame oil if you have it for depth of flavour – but not neccessary) plus more for the frying
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar or red wine or vegetable stock
  • 4 – 6 cups raw baby spinach, rinsed, and then chopped fine
  • 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs (I used Panko crumbs, but you can really use anything – whole wheat would be lovely, as would sour dough)
  • 2 eggs (vegan substitution: 2 – 4 tbsp soy milk or coconut milk)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan (vegan substitution: ground almonds)

In a medium saucepan, over medium high heat, saute the onion until it is soft and glossy, about 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and dried basil, and mix to combine. Add the balsamic or wine to the onions, and mix well. This will just soften the onions a little bit more, and add even more flavour to the dish.

Add the baby spinach in 2 batches, stirring until the spinach is just wilted, a few minutes. There will be some liquid in the bottom of the pan – this is great! You want it 🙂

Once all the spinach has been added, and lightly cooked, transfer the entire contents of the pan to a heatproof bowl.

Tip in the breadcrumbs and eggs and stir very gently just to combine. The mixture should come together easily. If not, add water, a tablespoon at a time. You want the mixture to bind together, but lightly – you dont want it mushy and wet.

Add the parmesan or ground almonds and mix lightly.

Put in the fridge to firm up while you make the sauce.

Once you are ready to eat (about 10 – 15 minutes before hand), preheat your oven to 100C (200F), and place a pan in the oven. Sprinkle a medium to large non stick frying pan with a touch of olive oil and place on medium heat. Make palm sized patties of the spinach mixture, and saute for about 4 – 5 minutes on the first side. You should be able to get 3 – 4 croquettes in a frying pan.

Flip the croquettes and saute for about 3 – 4 minutes on the second side. As you make the croquettes in batches, transfer the cooked croquettes to the pan in the oven to keep warm. Otherwise, place on serving platter, and cover with a dishtowel or paper napkin.

Tomato Garlic Mushroom Sauce

This is wonderful with the spinach croquettes. It is wonderfully tomato-ey, sweet and slightly gooey. The mushrooms give it depth of flavour too … I use this sauce on everything – on toasted bread for bruschetta, with pasta, as a filling for a decadent omelette. Its a great sauce to have on hand and it gets put together in a matter of minutes.

  • 1 1/2  tbsp olive oil
  • 5 – 7 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 cup mushrooms (I used portabello), peeled and sliced thinly
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 – 2 cups baby tomatoes (I used a mix of baby heirloom tomatoes which were amazing!), chopped
  • 2 tbsp sour cream or soy milk (optional)
  • Pinch of sugar (optional)

In a small frying pan, over medium low heat, saute the sliced garlic cloves in the olive oil. Let the garlic saute for about 5 minutes or so. You want it to get soft and slightly sticky, and lose its bitterness. This extended cooking time really allows the garlic flavours to bloom and soften. Its critical. Be patient. Everything else goes quite quickly.

Bring up the heat, and add the mushrooms in two batches. You want to encourage the mushrooms to lose their liquid, and just start to brown a little on the edges. They will go slightly caramel and sticky in the pan. They wont do this if you put too many in at the same time, which is why you are doing this in two batches. This should be the work of minutes, and watch carefully – you dont want the mushrooms to burn, but rather to brown.

Once the mushrooms have browned, season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the baby tomatoes all at once. They will immediately start to melt in the high heat, and their liquid will bubble and start forming a lovely sauce. Mix everything together well and taste. Add sour cream or soy milk if you want a creamier sauce, and add a tiny pinch of sugar if the tomatoes are not very sweet, to bring out their tomato essence.

Serve the sauce over the spinach croquettes. YUMMY.

3 Responses to “Spinach Croquettes with Tomato Garlic Mushroom Sauce”

  1. goddessmoments September 18, 2010 at 11:30 pm #

    This sounds just divinely perfect right now XOX

  2. Dani Katarina August 10, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

    I am adding this one to my recipe book!

    • delectableblog August 17, 2011 at 11:46 am #

      Thanks 🙂 These are a favourite – simple and delicious – and so so adaptable!

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