Our curses against Jeroen Meus were not uncommon, until the moment we realized that that own twist that we wanted to give might well be the cause that things don’t go as it should. What happened? The filling for the spinach croquette had not set enough even after overnight in the refrigerator. That had to do with our haste; to mix the spinach with the cheese sauce we blended. That insufficiently drained vegetables combined with blending – which releases more moisture – resulted in a (very nice) filling that was just not firm enough to roll into balls.
Now we could have solved that by reheating the whole bunch and adding an extra sheet of gelatin. But it was already too late for that, because then we were already messing around with flour, egg white and breadcrumbs. The entire kitchen, including the cook, was covered. That croquette better be good! And fortunately that turned out to be the case. The result was beautiful in the end, even with the filling that was too weak.
And the tomato sauce almost made itself, simple and oh so delicious. It was quiet at the table, leaving an approving ‘mmm’. According to the housemates, this spinach croquette should even be on the table more often, although it is not on our daily fare list. We’ll just add the mess and cleaning in the kitchen. And maybe listen a little more carefully to the chef. For us, this book is at the front of the bookshelf, always within reach.
RECIPE: Spinach croquette with tomato sauce
1 kg of fresh spinach
80 g butter (+ a little extra)
2 cloves of garlic
4 sheets of gelatin
200 g flour
4 dl milk
150 g manchego
Juice of half a lemon
40 g tomato paste
1 sprig of rosemary
2 dl white wine
100 g breadcrumbs
Thyme and bay leaf
400 g diced tomatoes (can)
Olive oil and peanut oil
Paprika and Cumin Powder W Nutmeg
Pepper and salt
Clean the spinach. Chop 1 clove of garlic and crush with a knife. Stew the spinach with the garlic pulp in a knob of butter. Season with plenty of pepper, salt and nutmeg. Place the spinach in a colander and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Soak the gelatin leaves in cold water. Make a roux with 80 grams of butter and 100 grams of flour. Add the milk and stir until smooth, thickened sauce. Grate the manchego into the sauce and let it melt. Squeeze out the gelatin and add to the sauce. Let the sauce cool.
Finely chop the spinach. Put it in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Then mix the spinach with the cheese sauce. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and lemon juice. Grease a bowl with olive oil and cover it with a sheet of plastic wrap. Add the cheese sauce with spinach to the bowl. Place a sheet of plastic wrap on top and press down. Let the filling stiffen in the refrigerator.
Chop the onion and stew in a dash of olive oil. Chop the second clove of garlic and crush with a knife; stew with the onion. Add a tuft of harissa, a pinch of paprika and a pinch of cumin powder. Then add the tomato paste and let it bake for a while. Make a bouquet garni with the rosemary, thyme and bay leaf and place it in the sauce. Pour in the tomato cubes and add a splash of water to the sauce. Add the white wine and season with salt. Let it simmer on a low heat. Remove the bouquet garni from the sauce. Mix with the hand blender and pour through a sieve. Beat the egg whites with a dash of peanut oil, salt and pepper. Put 100 grams of flour and the breadcrumbs in separate bowls.
Remove the croquette filling from the dish and cut into cubes. Roll into balls. Put the balls first through the flour, then through the egg white and finally through the breadcrumbs. Heat the fryer to 180 ° C and fry the croquettes until golden brown. Let them drain on kitchen paper. Make a mirror of tomato sauce on a plate and place the spinach croquettes on top.
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