I don't normally deep-fry things. I don't like wasting the oil, I don't like making a huge mess on my stove, I'm always worried I'll over- or under-cook something, and, not too healthy, is it? I will, however, make an occasional exception for a few recipes (corn fritters, fried chicken, fried eggplant with honey and sesame seeds) and this is the latest addition to the short list.
The recipe says spinach falafel, but I actually made these with random leftover greens in my refrigerator, which included kale, chard, turnip and beet greens, I think. I'm happy to say it worked just as well that way.
The veggies on the plate, by the way, are all from the farm. The cucumbers, especially, are an amazing treat, because they actually taste like something, as opposed to the crunchy water of the supermarket variety. There's also a shot of the last of the beet tzatziki, which, I know, I promised would come in the future, and it will, but we ate it all up really quickly so you'll have to wait until I make more.
Spinach Falafel with Tahini Sauce
serves 4 to 6
from Spice by Ana Sortun
1/2 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
4 TB extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground allspice
3/4 tsp salt plus more to taste
1 lb. spinach (or other greens) leaves
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp black pepper plus more to taste
3/4 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup cooked chickpeas
2 tsp lemon juice
4 to 6 cups oil for frying
1/4 cup flour for dredging
1. In a small frying pan over medium-high heat, sauté the onion in 1 TB of the olive oil. Add the cumin and allspice. Cook unti lthe onions are soft and translucent. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil and add salt to taste. Drop the spinach in and cook for 1 minute, until it becomes limp and dark green. Drain the spinach and rinse or soak in cold water until chilled.
3. Drain the spinach and squeeze all the liquid out of it. Chop into small pieces and set aside.
4. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to boil on high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and whisk in the salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the chickpea flour, little by little, until it is so thick that you can't whisk it anymore.
5. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir in the remaining 3 TB olive oil until it's incorporated. Reduce the heat to very low and cook for about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the edges start pulling away fromt he sides of the pan (note: this took me much less than 12 minutes).
6. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chickpeas, lemon juice, onion, chickpea flour dough, and spinach. Stir until the ingredients are well mixed, and season with salt and pepper.
7. Scrape the mixture onto a baking sheet and chill for at least two hours or overnight.
8. Form the falafel into 16 balls, and dredge with flour.
9. Heat the oil to 350°, and drop in the falafel balls. Fry for about 4 minutes, until golden brown and hot inside. Remove them from the oil and drain on a wire rack. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Serve hot, topped with tahini sauce.
makes 1/2 cup
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp chopped garlic (about 1 clove)
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
1. Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.